So, one of the most anticipated launches of 2009, Google Wave has come to an end less than a year later in 2010. At one point, Google Wave invites were passing hands on eBay for hundreds of dollars but now it’s getting brushed under the carpet. There were definitely some critics of the technology that set out to replace email.
On the one hand, it was a concept that was better than email. On the other hand, perhaps this was a step too far ahead of its users but you can’t blame Google for trying.I don’t think it has all been a waste though. A lot of that innovation won’t end up on the scrap heap, but surely must be reused in alternative projects.For example, we already have (in the US) embeddable maps within GMail. One of the hallmark features of creating a wave was being able to embed a map and collaborate on it. This feature will live on and hopefully be released throughout the world soon.
When it comes to collaboration, Waves could be edited in real-time. How long will it be until real-time character by character updating, originally seen in Wave, will end up in Google Talk?In addition to this real-time editing in chat, the collaboration we saw on real-time updating of Waves, can be seen in Google Docs. Users are already made aware when collaborators are editing the same document as them. Why not show each user what part of the document they are updating. This functionality can only have come from the development of Wave.Personally, I saw real value in creating Waves. The ‘yes/no/maybe’ widget would be a perfect way to gauge responses to invites that you are sending to friends. Why don’t Google integrate this in GMail?
The problem with Wave was that Google were trying to take on email as an entity. As Richard Branson once found out, Virgin Cola was never going to succeed against Coca-cola because it was too ingrained on society. Are we too ingrained with email that we won’t be able to divert our attention to something better? Or was Wave that one step too far? Maybe the barrier of wave being a pure desktop application was an obstacle to it’s rise in an industry that is slipping further and further into mobile territory.All in all, I hope that the advances made won’t go to waste and we can look at Google Wave as a successful project instead of a complete failure.