A few days ago Google announced that they were discontinuing Google Wave, a project and technology they announced and launched what seems like just a few months ago.
Google introduced Wave, “its real-time communication and collaboration platform”, as an “email killer” and arguably most people were confused by the product and Google’s explanation of it.
It took other people to explain it. Other people like Gina Trapani, one of the founders of LifeHacker and software developer, who was able to explain Wave and get people excited about the possibilities of it. In fact, she got herself so excited that she wrote a book about Wave. A DAMN GOOD book that really broke Wave wide open and showed what this new technology could do.
You can read and purchase Gina’s book off her site for the book THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO GOOGLE WAVE. Please check this out. Gina not only is selling her book but she’s giving it away on her site. Matter of fact, the book was available from the site as she wrote it. She is one of the true innovators of publishing and how publishing needs to be done in the coming decades. It was exciting to see the progression and I hope that she doesn’t get discouraged by Google and goes on and does it again. We need thought-leaders bringing things like publishing into the 21st century.
Back to what Wave is and was:
In so many ways Wave is the collaboration tool that so many people need and in that arena it is an “email killer”. With it gone are the days of emails with 15 recipients and 15 different threads of thought going on. Wave allowed people to truly collaborate, look back at that collaboration and work together in real-time.
In the day to day world of most of our lives… it was not an “email killer” and calling it that just confused the hell out of people.
Google’s message from day one wasn’t anything that the average person could grasp, grab on to or get excited about. I didn’t get it till I read Gina’s book and then I got excited but when I tried to explain it to many people they didn’t know how it would fit into their lives. Gina’s reaction to the news has been “it was ahead of its time”. I agree and like its namesake, the television series FIREFLY, it was not given the chance to grow and get people to know it well enough.
Admittedly I didn’t have an immediate need for Wave but in the last month I had found a good one— yeah, just in time. Google has said they will keep the project active “till the end of the year” and from what I gather have made most of it available so people can run their own Wave servers. Of course, a lot of people expect to see the Wave technology intergrated into other Google products like GMail and perhaps the mysterious facebook challenger “Google Me” project. (yeah, it’s going to happen. Have no doubt about it)
This makes the second technology from within the halls of Google to not take off the way they wanted it to, the other is BUZZ.
SO many people have never heard of Buzz and those that have and have seen the Buzz logos on blogs and sites mostly don’t know what the hell it’s about. Do you?
Seriously, how many people do you know who actively use Buzz? I admit I’ve been meaning to get into Buzz for a while now– and haven’t and still don’t fully understand what the deal is.
Why is the Google machine so bad at explaining things to the average user? How could they do better? And where will the Wave technology end up? Gmail? The oncoming Google Me? Both places would be a fantastic usage for this and we can only hope for it ending up in a lot of Google’s products and that someone is there to explain to us how much better our life is going to be because of it.
“Everything’s shiny, Cap’n. Not to fret!”
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