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Google Wave Crashes Out on Rocks of Indifference


Google Wave Crashes Out on Rocks of Indifference

Google has announced that it is to cease development on Google Wave, the service launched last year that it claimed would revolutionise the way we communicated online.

The announcement was made in a blog post last night that due to a lack of user uptake, Google would no longer devote resources to the project.

“Despite… numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked,” it wrote. “We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects.

Google said that the as the central parts of the code were open source, its customers and partners were free to continue to develop the platform. For companies that have deployed Wave servers in their organisation and wish to jump ship, Google said it would provide software tools that would enable them to ‘liberate’ their content from Wave.

While a brave and bold experiment, it seems that Wave simply was a solution for a problem no-one had. The hype for Google Wave was immense with the search giant, and Gmail pioneer promising an entirely new way of communicating that would replace both email and messaging in one go.

Initially, access to the Wave beta was via invitation only, and some invites were even reported to have exchanged hands for real money.

However, once inside the 'Wave', users were universally perplexed as to how to use it and what they would use it for. Google admitted on its blog post last night that, “We were… jazzed about Google Wave internally, even though we weren’t quite sure how users would respond to this radically different kind of communication.”

Clearly, befuddled users simply tried it out a couple of times and chose never to return. While the service was fully opened up in May, the lack of interest has led to Google’s decision to pull the plug.

“Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science” Google wrote. “We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web.”

Did you try Wave more than once? Are you sad to see it go? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

Link: Google blog post.


August 5, 2010, 3:40 pm

I had a look when it was fully released. As a long term happy GMail user, I was thinking Wave must be something useful. After a wasted 20 minutes seeing what it was about I waved it goodbye.

I apologise for a pathetic and predictable pun.


August 5, 2010, 3:45 pm

It had no real purpose and I didn't have a need to use it.

I'm glad they pull the plug on rubbish instead of persisting with things though.


August 5, 2010, 4:06 pm

I thought Wave could be a very useful tool for people working on projects. I never got a chance to use it, but I had planned to do so in future; I'm sad to see Google not giving this more time to mature. If every company gave up at v1 we'd still be stuck at the stone age. I am surprised by this.

Still I'm interested to hear the code is Open Source, some of the push technology in there could be useful for me for work.

Sir Stuie

August 5, 2010, 4:16 pm

Never used it. I didn't hear a single practical thing to do with Wave so never bothered with it.


August 5, 2010, 4:19 pm

Wave was a bit too unintuitive at first use, and didn't offer obvious benefits over gmail and facebook. So I would consider it a lack of foresight or rather, abundance of optimism on Google's part.

Buzz is a big disappointment as well.


August 5, 2010, 4:37 pm

The reason that Wave died is that it wasn't backwards compatible. If it had worked with "legacy" email, then I would have migrated my Gmail to Wave.


August 5, 2010, 4:55 pm

I tried to use it for a work project, so everyone could update the documentation easily - but one important member of the team never got his invite, though it was requested several times. So that made it useless.


August 5, 2010, 5:01 pm

Trusted Reviews: why the sudden drive at the end of every article to get readers to leave comments... it's becoming mildly annoying.

Lon Bailey

August 5, 2010, 5:18 pm

I got an invite and tried it- couldn't figure out how to get mail, or whether my new wave email address supersedes the googlemail address. Couldn't figure out anything really. Then the people I invited cannot get their invitations to work, and complained that I sent the invitations wrong (sigh). So that was it.

In many ways, it was like the scanner pens and other weird and wonderful products - they all seemed wonderful but then when you tried them, they either don't actually work or are such hard work that you give up.

(PS anyone wants to buy a scanner pen? one previous owner, hardly used...)


August 5, 2010, 5:24 pm

This thing was another manifestation of the web2.0-hype, where everybody hysterically tries to invent sh*t and stay ahead of some curve or whatever. And in the process, I feel that more and more the IT industry is trying to create problems to fix. Because capitalism hates customers who are just happy and content with their lives.

So Wave comes along and tries to convince me that E-Mail and IM are just not gonna cut it anymore, that I need a "new", "revolutionary" (both lies) way to communicate. I, on the other hand, remember a time when my family didn't have a phone, let alone a PC, and still, somehow I survived and did not die alone but enjoyed my life.

Geoff Richards

August 5, 2010, 5:28 pm

It's a shame really, to see innovation fail lest it might discourage others from challenging the norm.

Having said that, I have an account that I never use so I was part of the problem not the solution.

Win some, lose some eh Sergei? Chin up, chap!

Lee Moorhouse

August 5, 2010, 5:49 pm

@Christian I imagine TR do it to provoke thought and feedback from their readers.

I had an invite and found it uninspiring, hardly suprising Google has decided to drop it.

@Lon I may take you up on that scanner pen, I hear great things...


August 5, 2010, 6:03 pm

We'll always have http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...


August 5, 2010, 8:35 pm

i was quiet confused too, what it was for, etc. great idea though, if only it'd been developed by apple, we'd know what to do with it... when it comes to consumer-experience, nobody beats apple... apple isnt always perfect, but gotta admit they really think hard on how to make everything (very) easy for people to use


August 5, 2010, 8:59 pm

I agree with Tim. Companies only care for more and more profit no matter what customers really want. They don't make products that satisfy them but deliberately create endless variations of crap to leave customers always wanting something more and keep buying new stuff.

This applies not only to computer software. All products fall in this category.

These are not human errors. Is on purpose.

About Wave, i wouldn't care less. Chrome is garbage too and i sadly see Firefox 4.0's dark future.


August 6, 2010, 12:26 am

Google Nexus One, Google Wave and the Microsoft Kin. I read the news and laughed to myself mildly in all three cases. Pointless products that serve only to bloat the market, confusing consumers more. Absolutely agree with creating a solution for a non-existent problem, that creates problems in itself.

To see them disappear so soon is hardly surprising and probably a relief for it seems every other sensible consumer had the same reaction as me.

Tony Young

August 6, 2010, 1:50 pm

@ Tim @stranded

Oh dear, oh dear. How sad. Google provided Wave for free so you didn't HAVE to buy it and you didn't HAVE to use it. We all have that choice, so why castigate Google for innovating? More new products fail than succeed. If you don't try something new, you can't succeed. I believe we will see a Wave-like product emerge from Google in the future, it just needs to be more intuitive for the average Joe.

Google's income derives from the data they mine from our online activities and good luck to them. Without profits (capitalism) no one would be employed, ergo; you wouldn't have a PC.

Discerning users will always choose to use good software - and poor software will always be buried by market forces.

Chrome is garbage? What planet are you on?

@ Disgrace

Arguably, the Nexus One kick-started the Android OS market (clever Google) and subsequently people have bought Heroes, Desires, X10s, Droids et al in huge quantities. I don't see that as failure. Watch this space.


August 6, 2010, 3:15 pm

I think it's a great shame. The idea was good. The implementation was too poor. Integration with gmail, and better still Outlook if that's possible, could have made it work. I wouldn't be surprised if something similar re-emerges in the future.

The problem was, Wave was never going to replace email, and it was never rolled out in enough of an accessible and universal way. In my job, I often have to email documents and ideas to clients then discuss them, creating a reliable trail of communication. The problem with this is in following the trail of communication without multiple searches in "in" folders and "sent" folders. If only there was a way to centralise the discussion!

However, for Wave to have fitted the bill, it would have had to have been universally accepted by the corporate world. I can't communicate to clients without going through my company's compliance approved channels, which means that email is basically through Outlook and the Exchange server, and I certainly wouldn't ask a potentially IT illiterate client to open a gmail account solely for the purpose of communicating with one person (ie me!)


August 6, 2010, 4:54 pm

I never used Wave, so won't miss it. What is interesting to me though is that this is a good example of potential issues with "the cloud". If a company decides to turn off an online app, they can simply do it, with no comeback - especially if it is "free". I am sure there will be some who will find the loss of Wave a real pain and I feel for them. At least if something is an app on your local PC you can continue to use it (assuming it doesn't rely on some online services). Interesting times ahead I think!

Tony Young

August 6, 2010, 5:15 pm

@ TechnicPuppet

I hope EVERYONE watched that vid! Sweet!


August 6, 2010, 5:25 pm

Although Wave clearly wasn't/isn't the next generation of communication, it did have its uses, particularly for casual project planning. For instance, we use it for planning our podcasts, adding links to articles, notes, annotations etc. On a personal level I never even used it before the podcast though.

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