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Terminal Wave: The Google Wave Failure

Google Wave: The Most Hyped Disappointment of the Year

Google Wave: A Tremendous Failure

Google certainly knows how to create a frenzied situation. In May of this year, Google Wave was announced, hailed as a full communication windfall.

Wave, developed by Lars and Jens Rasmussen, was to combine the abilities of email, wiki, instant message, blog, GOOG Docs, and all of it rewritable/editable on the fly!

No more digging through thousands of archived emails, no more having to create separate documents, less mis-communication. The holy grail of business tools and communication tools. Here’s a list of everything you should be able to do with Wave:

  1. Organize Events
  2. Create and Manage “Living” Group Projects
  3. Drag-n-Drop Photo Sharing
  4. Create “Living” meeting notes
  5. Brainstorming? (seems like a redundant use)
  6. Interactive Games

Google furthered the frenzy by bottle-necking the admission to the Google Wave Beta, releasing 100,000 invitations to request pool. And, all you heard about for weeks was just how “revolutionary” this tool was going to be, pushing the hype over Wave to unseen levels. People were begging, pleading, and, somewhere out there, stealing invites. They had the populous going bonkers.

Then everyone started using it. Or, at least, attempted to use it.

And That’s Why This Wave is Terminal

No one can figure out how to use it effectively. It’s not that people don’t understand the basic notion of how to compose a WAVE, or even how to add in other people, but it’s not nearly as fluent as it was made out to be.

It’s really Google Wave (for Developers Only)

There are two videos. One for developers and one for users (I think).

  1. There’s a developer video that’s 1 hour and 20 minutes long!
  2. The Dr. Wave Intro Video (which I assume is for users) is a whopping 2:12 long.

That’s strange: apparently, Google doesn’t really want everyday users to use WAVE. There’s detailed set of instructions for developers, who may, eventually, create Wave apps, and we get a 2 minute video. It seems that Google forgot who’s going to push developers to make apps?

Wave UI

The  UI (user-interface) is clean enough, but incredibly clunky. All your Waves are smashed into one Inbox. There’s no way to distinguish what’s a personal wave from a business wave (assuming you’ve even attempted a collaboration). Going further, there’s no way to sort your business waves into categories.

And, sure, you can drag a wave into the SPAM folder or TRASH, however since you can’t actually delete a wave, all these “non-important” waves sit there and rot. FOREVER.

The application usability is dismal. The Dev Team at Google apparently missed the lecture on “plug-n-play” functionality. Having to follow specific “bots” in order to possibly use the developer apps, is a nightmare. And, of course, there’s no guidance on how to effectively leverage the apps and the bots. That’s how I know this Samuel L. Jackson wave video is propaganda.

The application usability alone is what makes Wave fail. Even if you didn’t have a sense of how you could really apply this to business, it would at least allow everyday users to CREATE with it.

Of course there’s going to be a learning curve with any new tool, but even months after release, everyone is still clueless as to how to use Wave.

Tweets of Confusion:

Tweet of Confusion 1

Tweet of Confusion 2

Tweet of Confusion 3

That’s just a small sampling of the most recent tweets about Google Wave (thanks to Google’s awesome “real-time” updates).

Sucker-Punched by Google Again

This Isn’t the First One, This Won’t Be The Last

Google’s had a couple of spectacular bombs in the past, and one just recently outside of Wave.  Anyone out there remember Google Lively? (If you’re shaking your head, don’t worry, you’re not alone.) Lively was Google’s attempt to try and eat some of Second Life’s share, and closed it’s doors just months after opening.

What about Google Knol? Not a complete failure, since it hasn’t closed up shop, but all you heard about for months was how Knol was going to be the real deal; a true competitor to Wikipedia. Now? Just another entity that exists in limbo.

And, for a more recent flop, besides Wave, remember that little thing called SideWiki? The book is still out on this one, but it certainly hasn’t gathered the steam that Google thought it would. Beyond creating another ulcer for the PR folks, at this point, it’s another failed attempt for Google to absorb more market share from other entities that did it first and do it better.


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