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Why Wave Failed 350

Florian Wardell submitted a little discussion piece about Why Wave Failed. He blames marketing and the staged rollout. Personally I think that what killed it was that I should have transparently been able to see my gmail inside wave. Requiring a separate window guarantees that I wouldn't use it regularly. Had I been able to read my regular mail in the same UI, I might have been tempted to use it more.
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Why Wave Failed

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:27AM (#33149670) Journal

    Whatever the reason for Wave’s failure is, the fact remains: There are two types of people, the ones that love Wave, and the ones that don’t know what it is.

    Well, I guess I don't exist then. I tried Wave, I understand that it's supposed to be a collaboration tool more than just a glorified IM Client. And I don't love it -- I don't hate it, either. If it cost money I would hate it. But since it's open source and free I kind of view it as a solution to a problem I don't have. My coworkers and I played around with it for a day, noticed some tiny problems with arrival times of messages and the like (things that would probably be ironed out) but after that small amount of time, I grew bored of it and didn't consider it a viable or necessary communication channel. Of course, I'm not trying to write code with someone on the other side of the world either.

    Personally I think that what killed it was that I should have transparently been able to see my gmail inside wave. Requiring a separate window guarantees that I wouldn't use it regularly.

    Well, to counter that, I personally found it to be too confusing and not intuitive enough. Adding in my e-mail would have just made it an indiscernible mess. GMail is already busy enough, I'm not going to be able to consume that inside Wave. Doing one thing really well is often more valuable to me than doing a lot of things really well and trying to cram them into one experience ... this UI bloat really wears on me.

    Meanwhile, we’ll have to include Wave to Google’s increasing list flops: The Nexus One, Google Answers, Google Checkout, Google Viewer, the Knol, Orkut, Wave, and Buzz.

    Fail early, fail often, right? I feel bad for Novel's Pulse and SAP's Cloudave which I think were built up to interact with Wave but at the same time I don't think it was forced on them nor do either of them have to stop working on that product if Google is dropping out of the game (open source is great!). Google's failures are far less painful to me than another company's failures so I'll gladly tolerate them ... maybe even appreciate them because they'll get something right one of these days (look at Android going nuts []).

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by chill ( 34294 )

      Well, I guess I don't exist then.

      I knew it! You're a bot, aren't you?

    • by markov_chain ( 202465 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:46AM (#33149898) Homepage

      I wouldn't say Nexus One was a flop - it accomplished exactly what it was supposed to; just look at all the SnapDragon-based phones it spawned.

      • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:04AM (#33150160) Homepage Journal

        As of July 2010, Alexa traffic ranked Orkut 65th in the world; the website currently has more than 100 million active users worldwide

        Orkut doesn't sound like a flop to me either. It may not be popular in the US, but that really doesn't make it a flop.

        • orkut demographics (Score:3, Informative)

          by jDeepbeep ( 913892 )
          It appears that Brazil and India use it the most. []
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HermMunster ( 972336 )

      Bottom line for me was that it was far to slow.

    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:47AM (#33149924) Homepage

      Why wave failed: Because it didn't do anything. It was a glorified chat box. Document collaboration is neat, but you've been able to do that with Google Docs and others for years. Realtime document collaboration? I can think of some times when that would be neat, but most documents have one owner. Besides, you would need to be able to edit MS Office documents realtime for that to be useful. It the "innovations" you bring to the table are drag 'n drop and live typing updating, it might be time to throw in the towel.

      I'm glad Google has released a ton of things that haven't caught on. The things that has caught on, like Google Voice or maps or Android, has become incredibly useful. And there are parts of the world where Orkut is essential. But Wave was one of those failed experiments. It just didn't push far enough.

      • by mini me ( 132455 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:40AM (#33150696)

        The problem, as I see it, was that Wave was only accessible to geeks. You had to have connections just to get into the service in the first place. People who check their email once a week do not have those connections, yet those are the people who, through the organizations* they are involved in, would have benefited most from the service.

        I don't think Wave was ever going to change the world, but had Google marketed it to the right people, I think it would have been more successful.

        * Think small non-profits who are just starting to learn you can exchange Word documents while talking about it over the telephone. I know of a few of them.

    • by pudge ( 3605 ) * Works for Slashdot <> on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:51AM (#33149976) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, eldavojohn, I knew what it was and tried and never thought of a reason why I would want to spend time trying it again. I didn't even play around with it for a day ... maybe 15 minutes, got bored, moved on, never looked back.

      I suspect most people who tried it did similarly.

      The thing about putting Gmail inside it is that then it might have given someone a reason to use it. As it stood, most people had no reason to use it.

      It was a busy and complicated solution to a problem almost no one had.

      • by mini me ( 132455 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:53AM (#33150850)

        As it stood, most people had no reason to use it.

        I have several acquaintances whom I feel would have benefited greatly from Wave.

        I'm all like, Wave is exactly the tool you have been looking for. They are like great, how can I try it out? Me: Well, you need to find some random person on the internet to give you an invite. Them: Okay... I'll go back to what I'm doing now.

        Wave failed, in my opinion, because the only people who had access to it were the people who had no reason to use it.

    • by DancesWithBlowTorch ( 809750 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:57AM (#33150076)

      after that small amount of time, I grew bored of it and didn't consider it a viable or necessary communication channel. Of course, I'm not trying to write code with someone on the other side of the world either.

      Just recently, I was trying to write code (Matlab code, and the resulting academic paper in LaTeX) with someone on the other end of the continent, so we gave Wave a try. Within minutes I realised that it's useless even for this, the task it was seemingly built for.

      The reason: It's a sandbox. If you write code, you like to be able to save it, and compile it. To do either of the two you have to, literally, select, copy and paste your code from the wave into your IDE / text editor / local file system. That of course breaks the whole "keep everything in sync in one place in the cloud" idea.

      So I guess there is one, and only one use case for wave: If you want to write unformatted text in collaboration with others, for the sole purpose of notetaking and, eventually, printing it on a piece of scrap paper. I guess there are not that many people out there in the world who actually need this sort of functionality. For everyone else, Wave is a hassle.

      Now here's what would be awesome: If I could share a window in my text editor / IDE with someone else on the planet, edit a piece of source together in real time, and still be able to save and compile directly from within the software. Oh, wait... []

      • Mozilla's Bespin (Score:4, Interesting)

        by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:09AM (#33150224) Journal

        Now here's what would be awesome: If I could share a window in my text editor / IDE with someone else on the planet, edit a piece of source together in real time, and still be able to save and compile directly from within the software. Oh, wait... []

        DancesWithBlowTorch, keep an eye on Mozilla's Bespin []. I've used the very basic skeleton project they had and think they're on track but it's coming along [] and will hopefully firm up once HTML5 support and standards become common place. I don't know how fluid it will become with real time updates but imagine editing your code anytime from any browser that is HTML 5 compliant and your collaborators seeing that. Not sure how many languages they plan on incorporating but when it's done, your source will exist and be compiled in the cloud. Maybe not ideal for a business but for open source collaboration ... really neat!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Just recently, I was trying to write code (Matlab code, and the resulting academic paper in LaTeX) with someone on the other end of the continent, so we gave Wave a try. Within minutes I realised that it's useless even for this, the task it was seemingly built for. The reason: It's a sandbox. If you write code, you like to be able to save it, and compile it. To do either of the two you have to, literally, select, copy and paste your code from the wave into your IDE / text editor / local file system. That of course breaks the whole "keep everything in sync in one place in the cloud" idea.

        Well - I agree with your premise but your specific example isn't a good one. Collaborative document editing != collaborative code editing and compilation. For that, you'd need an IDE and appropriate plugin/add on... wave never advertised anything that would lead you to think it could help with this.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      How about those that don't see the point? It didn't seem to fill a need that couldn't be met with other technologies. There's also the critical mass effect that benefits or hinders all social media tools - how many people do you know that are using it, and is it compelling enough to switch, and have others switch with you?
    • The marketing maybe. The phone itself is an excellent piece of hardware, the only thing that even slightly tempts me away from my N1 right now is a Droid X and with Motorola seemingly in the anti custom-ROM camp I refuse to support them.

      I still think Google gave up too soon there, if enough consumers realized that buying the phone yourself then getting a plan without the phone subsidy built in is ultimately cheaper more carriers would be forced to offer those types of plans. It saddens me that I may have t

    • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:10AM (#33150268) Homepage

      I knew about Wave, and had plenty of opportunity to use it.

      I just couldn't come up with a reason.

    • SSDD (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pushf popf ( 741049 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:14AM (#33150310)

      Maybe I'm just too old and grumpy, but I've been on the internet since the days when the most useful protocol was telnet, and I thought the same thing as you did when I saw wave. In fact, I tried asking a bunch of much younger people about it, and the best answer I got was that "it allows you to collaborate".

      Q: "better than a shared whiteboard and phone call?"
      A: "well, no . . ."

      Q: "How do you keep everybody from trashing the design with their own agendas?"
      A: "You can roll back"

      That's the solution? To restore from a backup and waste everybody's time?

      While Wave was definitely cool, and I don't fault Google for releasing it (I love playing with new stuff), it bugs the crap out of me that Every New Thing gets a fresh round of "buzz" and internet cheer-leading whether or not it's better than or even as good as what we already have.

    • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:49AM (#33150808)
      The Nexus One and Google Checkout are hardly flops, I have a Nexus One and when available I prefer Google Checkout over Paypal.

      The problem with Wave was that it was an invite only service which didn't interoperate with anything that had an established install base. Likewise, when I logged in the couple times I have, I couldn't figure out what it was really for.
  • I thought Wave was some sort of surfing app or something physicists used for their QED experiments.
  • by foobsr ( 693224 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:27AM (#33149680) Homepage Journal

    .. he is probably right. I never heard of the thing before now (though I probably would not have been interested).


    • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:35AM (#33149786) Journal

      .. he is probably right. I never heard of the thing before now (though I probably would not have been interested).


      I'm [] not [] quite [] sure [] what [] you're [] talking [] about [] we've [] covered [] it [] a few times [].

    • I heard of it, but never got a clear sense of WTF it is. Without that, I had no reason to be interested. If you don't catch my interest somehow, then your marketing has failed.

      • I used it for several weeks and still didn't get a clear sense of WTF it was. Google's marketing succeeded with me, the product, however...

    • If you never heard of the thing it's because nobody cared. IIRC Gmail didn't have great marketing, but many people wanted for gmail invitations. After they got one, they continued using it. There were also a lot of people asking for wave invitations at some point, Wave was a HOT topic for a while (which is the best marketing you can have), but after people got an invitation and logged in, they stopped using it. IMO Wave is crap, it makes phpbb look good.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eln ( 21727 )
      That cave you've been living in must have been cramping.

      In many cases marketing can be at least partially blamed for product failures, but in this case I think that's just the developer trying to shift blame from himself. Marketing can only get people to try something, but the product itself has to get them to stay. From what I've heard and seen, the usual cadre of geeks that follow everything Google does jumped on Wave just like they jump on everything else Google does. They tried it, and they couldn
  • Irony (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:29AM (#33149696)

    Requiring a separate window guarantees that I wouldn't use it regularly.

    Funny, I feel the same way about websites whose style sheets involve great big floating things that don't go away when I scroll down. :)

    (Serves me right for reading TFA...)

  • by Admodieus ( 918728 ) <john@mis[ ] ['cza' in gap]> on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:30AM (#33149712)
    The poor performance of Wave when it first debuted quickly killed any hype it had going. Everybody was eager to try it out, then realized it ran like a dog in pretty much everything except Chrome (and even sometimes in Chrome, too.) That and the fact that it was a standalone app - I wanted to be able to work with my Google Docs, share items from my Reader, and work on emails from within Wave, spreading information between all three if I desired.
    • by IICV ( 652597 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:56AM (#33150050)

      I tried it once.

      It seemed to interact horrifically with Flashblock - the windows just did nothing, I couldn't view any of the tutorials, IIRC I couldn't even click on half of the links. It basically looked like a bunch of funkily cut up frames.

      I whitelisted the Wave website (I assumed it was the root of whatever page I was looking at right then) and it still didn't work. I wasn't about to disable Flashblock for some website that didn't do anything and whose purpose I honestly didn't understand, so I said "screw this" and looked at pictures of cats with bad grammar.

      The moral of this story? Cats are funny. Oh and also don't be an idiot and use Flash for every little thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by fermion ( 181285 )
      Wave did not fail. Like the Nexus One online store, it was such a success it had to be canceled so it did not destroy the world.
  • Save Wave (Score:5, Funny)

    by curtix7 ( 1429475 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:31AM (#33149730)
    There should be a movement to save it if for no other reason than it rhymes.
  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:32AM (#33149738)

    Google Wave was only useful to me if I could trust 100% of the participants in the Wave. Yes, yes, there is a roll-back to undo damage. Not good enough.

    If I had a group of Internet participants, that absolutely wasn't the case. There was no in-between. Either you trusted someone and they could do almost anything, or you didn't. And damage was extremely easy to do. There wasn't anything else that I could find, like moderator pre-approval.

    Public groups were too much trouble under Google wave. A group of students collaborating on a private assignment? Not so much.

  • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:32AM (#33149744)

    When I first saw reports and demos of Wave, my reaction was basically "wtf is this crap?" When some of the younger people at my last job (web hosting company) started using it and I saw it "in action," that basically just solidified my initial impression. I couldn't figure out what it was really for (in a "solution to a problem" sense) or why I would want to use it.

    It seems to be just an extreme conclusion of an ADHD society. It gives too much too quickly, all jumbled up and mixed together. Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I like my IM being separate from my email, and maybe its OK to use LDAP to pre-populate my contacts, but that's just about where I draw the line.

    I suspect that I'm far from being the only person who also though Wave was pretty much just the worst idea ever and that using it would cause brain hemorrhages. No amount of marketing or alternate release schedules is going to make up for the fact that Wave was just insanely stupid and never should have seen the light of day in the first place.

    Tag this story good riddance and be done with it.

    • by slim ( 1652 ) <> on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:36AM (#33150656) Homepage

      "Solution in search of a problem"?

      Here's the problem. This week, I dragged a work related email out of my archive, hit reply-all, added a couple of extra recipients, top-posted a "why has nothing been done about this yet" comment at the top, and hit send.

      There were a few replies, some of which added new people to the conversation. So there were multiple threads going on with different subsets of the relevant people seeing them. Then another colleague chimed in independently, so I forwarded him one of the mails, which contained some, but not all, of the conversation so far.

      If all this had happened in a Wave, everyone would have been party to the whole conversation, and latecomers would have been able to catch up.

      That it could seamlessly turn into a chat, is great. That we could collaboratively edit a wavelet is useful too.

      I'd have used Wave a lot more if we'd had one inside our intranet firewall.

  • I got Wave during the beta, as did many of my friends, and we all thought it was pretty nifty. After a few weeks, it had pretty much lost its allure and almost none of us were using it because the majority of the people we communicated with didn't use it.

    The really problem with Wave was definitely marketing. If I asked a random, "normal" person if they used Google Wave, their answer would be "Huh? What's that?" No one knew about it.

    • I don't think marketing could have saved it, though, since even the people who did know about it didn't like it. The masses are slow to adopt new tools unless they have a clear utility and relevance to everyday tasks (and sometimes not even then). I knew a lot of people who had Wave accounts and none of us used it because it didn't do anything useful for us. Reading through the comments to this article, I see a lot of Slashdotters who concluded the same thing. And we're the tech-savvy, early-adopting crowd.

    • The really problem with Wave was definitely marketing. If I asked a random, "normal" person if they used Google Wave, their answer would be "Huh? What's that?" No one knew about it.

      I think it went beyond that.

      Last year one of my co-workers had an invite to Google Wave. So, being a nice guy, he gave our group a presentation on it to tell us about it.

      Almost everybody at the table was left going "OK, it's got wavelets, but what would I actually *do* with it?". Nobody ever really did explain to me what it wou

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:33AM (#33149758)

    Google needs to release the source code to their client. I think if it were available as a reference implementation to be tweaked and forked for free that it could be turned into something very useful, especially in corporate settings.

    • I loved Google wave. But what killed Wave for me is no that there is no client. The server could be open source, but without a client it is not so much useful.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:33AM (#33149762)
    Why did email become so successful? It solved a problem that seemed real to most people: the ability to send text over long distances very quickly and without paying a lot.

    What problem did Wave solve? None of the problems Wave solved were perceived as problems by most people, so nobody saw Wave as a "killer app."
    • Bingo.

    • Absolutely!
      Wave offered absolutely nothing that we can't already do in many different (and more efficient) ways.

      I got in right near the start, played around, found it pretty pointless and noted it offered nothing new.
      Nobody was able to come up with anything it could offer that doesn't already exist.

      No wonder it failed.

  • All I knew (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JumperCable ( 673155 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:34AM (#33149766)

    All I knew was that is was called Google Wave, was being hyped and I needed an invite to use it.

    Why should it be a big surprise this thing never got wide spread adoption?

    • Re:All I knew (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WankersRevenge ( 452399 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:53AM (#33150018)

      google: you're gonna love this new product. it's gonna change your life.
      me: what does it do?

      google: it's so damn sweet. the way you look at the world will altered for good. you'll never turn back.
      me: what does it do?

      google: there's email and chat organized in this cool way which is just amazing.
      me: what does it do?

      google: it streamlines communication in this effective way that will alter the way you work
      me: what does it do?

      google: you really need to try it to get a full grasp of the mind blowing innovation
      me: what the fuck does it do?

      google: er, have an invite.
      me: sure, fine, whatever.

    • was being hyped and I needed an invite to use it. Why should it be a big surprise this thing never got wide spread adoption

      People used to ebay gmail invites. It took a long time before gmail invites got further out as "only employees" or "family of employees".

      But ofcourse, thats why gmail is not wide spread adopted.

      They tried to recreate the same momentum, but the software wasn't ready; I've used wave but it was a horrid mess to start with. So after trying to write documentation and an analysis with colleag

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:37AM (#33149806) Journal
    The aspect of Google's wave rollout that I found baffling was their more or less complete inability to conceptually separate(at least in their marketing messages, which is bad, possibly in some of their internal thinking, which would be worse) the specific "Google wave" webapp they had created; frankly a rather rough and somewhat niche-y thing, from the wave protocol, which had considerably greater potential to power a variety of frontend activities in a standardized way that would allow for productive interaction between them.

    The closest analogy that I can think of offfhand would be if XMPP had been introduced by releasing a Pidgin fork named "XMPP" and offering no particularly interesting benefits aside from instant messaging over XMPP rather than Oscar or IRC or whatever. The world would have greeted it with a collective "meh." As it is, though, XMPP is capable of running all sorts of more or less real time communication scenarios behind the scenes, basic chat being a small subset of that. Similarly, Wave the protocol is quite powerful and interesting, "Wave" the webapp is kind of blah.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by omnichad ( 1198475 )

      That got really confusing to read when you know that Wave Protocol is based on XMPP.

  • Many things take time and a second or third effort to catch on. Microsoft has failed at many things initially, but they never give up. They do use many unfair advantages, but they also are persistent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jafafa Hots ( 580169 )

      Thing is, though... Google DOES seem to give up on its failures. Hell, it even seems to give up on some of its minor successes.

      It almost seems like Google has attention deficit disorder. Apart from Gmail and its base search business, almost everything else they have that's successful seems to have been bought from someone else after it already was a hit.

  • by liquiddark ( 719647 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:38AM (#33149822)
    Personally I found Wave invaluable for any number of creative applications - gaming, writing, taking notes for projects, planning various activities. I blame its failure on all you jerks for not taking a second look.
  • Had it.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drumcat ( 1659893 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:40AM (#33149846)
    Had it augmented my email, I'd probably have looked closer. Instead, it tried to replace it. I have too much invested in my email addresses to supplant them simply. Most people do, too.
  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:40AM (#33149856) Homepage
    The main problem with this was that it solved problems that nobody was having. If I needed Wave, I would have used it, and found the time to learn it. But, no. I heard from new converts that this new software was great, would change my life, put hair on my bald spot, etc., but I've heard plenty of similar cries of pleasure from other early adopters (myspace, friendster, etc) and never trusted them, and it turned out I was right. Plus, it ties you too closely to Google.
    • Not only was it a solution in need of a problem, but the whole user interface left me baffled as to what it actually did. It's a nasty example of attempting user friendliness by giving things cutesy names, while giving the user absolutely no insight into what the things do. They made exactly the same mistake with Buzz, only worse, because they dropped that right into Gmail with everything turned on and automatically buzzing everything. At least with Buzz I actually managed to figure out what it was and how
  • I prefer to keep gmail a separate, standalone app. Fine if Google wants to integrate sepraately under other apps (as long as they aren't sharing my personal info a la facebook).

  • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:49AM (#33149948)

    After a year, was there anyone who wanted to try out Wave who had not gotten an invite?

    Yes. I would have downloaded it the first week if it weren't for that "invitation" gimmick. I had a specific use case in mind and a specific group of people to use it with, but I realized I probably couldn't get my collaborators (non-IT people) to watch the 1-hour video (hell I could not sit through all of that), and to try to explain to them "you need an invitation to download this" would have resulted in blank looks at best. I figured I'd just wait till Google did something to make adoption easier.

    I could have probably networked and asked someone for an invitation, but that is rather missing the point that I don't feel I should have to beg for an invitation to try out Google's new software. If they had wanted me to try it, they could have, you know, tried not preventing me.

  • The main problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Heshler ( 1191623 )
    Unintuitive editing. I tried it a few times, and kept ruining waves with new sections or comments that I couldn't delete, and I had trouble keeping things organized. If the product had been easier to learn without instruction manuals, I would be using it a lot, but as it stands I don't have the patience to learn it and get anyone I want to collaborate to learn it too. It was just too much effort.
  • I never ever understood what the point of Wave was. What was it supposed to do? How was it supposed to be used, in a way that would amuse me, or make my life better?

    Not only did I not know, but none of the people I normally deal with over gmail knew either.

  • Is a tough problem. Humans have only solved it in really one way....the meeting.

    Sure we love to hate them, but more collaboration can happen in 15 minutes of face to face then in hours of email or some app like this.

    Nothing gets done in a meeting, but I've always found that things get done after them. We all pray for the day when we can pop in and out of some app like this and come to conclusions, blah blah. Not going to happen.

    I'd rather google make the best damn screen sharing app that every was. Meetings

  • After the initial swell of interest, it's usage fell into a trough and was never able to gain enough crest to break out into rolling acceptance.

  • My view (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mordejai ( 702496 )
    Wave failed for basic marketing reasons. Essentially, it was impossible to explain Google's vision of Wave in an elevator. If, instead, they had marketed as "21st century email", it would have had a better chance (it still has). Also, they built an impressive platform that allowed essentially anything... and forgot to put in the basics (for example, an integrated, easy to use version of a mailing list) Marketing essentially to Google geeks only didn't help either. Did you see any promotion of Wave in Goog
  • 1) They couldn't explain what it was easily, and therefore couldn't sell it.
    2) It solved problems that were already solved (Collaboration software! Gosh, how original!)
    3) Interface was an afterthought, not the product's primary driver, as it MUST be for any consumer software product (Note. Repeat the word "Apple" three times before you flame).

    Google is getting more Microsofty by the day, although Microsoft's MO is usually to solve problems you don't have in a way you can't use very easily (e.g. Azure) for b

  • by bradgoodman ( 964302 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:56AM (#33150054) Homepage
    I loved the idea and promise of Wave. I tried using it as a collaborative communication tool for my group - which was spread out across several buildings - and two continents.

    The biggest problem was that it was more of a "message board" than an "instant messenger". The major failing was that it was indeed built into the web browser. It wasn't the type of IM that would give you a pop-up when someone said something. So for that, we used other IMs (Crappy Microsoft one, I think) - in my current company, we use Skype a lot.

    No one had the discipline, temperate, or screen real estate to devote to wave - when what we really needed it for was occasional real-time conversations with a large dispersed group.

  • I know people had been using wave with success for playing RPGs. It's a hell of a lot faster than PBEM, and more accessible for most than IRC. Other than that, it was a solution looking for a problem.
  • I really tried it out, followed the development, and found it absolutely phantastic! - Except of for me. Serious. I hope and wish it will come back; but not as an 'outside' thingy like Wave was; yet-another-comm-application. When I saw the movies on Youtube, I was sure, that the death knell of email was close. When I started using it, everything had to be set up from scratch. I couldn't just drag and drop all my mails, any mail, around the globe to any of my contacts. I am running a number of mail servers,

  • the idea behind wave was that kids would sit in front of a computer all day chatting. about the time it came out smart phones started to become popular and people use them more than PC's now.

    then there were the usual Google mistakes

    no trust. i'm not downloading and giving facebook passwords to some guy advertising a facebook plugin who's only a screen name
    no links to outside social sites. just like buzz only pulled info from twitter made it worthless
    hard to find people. i like google reader but it's a PITA

  • I run a closed mailing list on a controversial topic (climate change) with a history of the opposing camp stealing and publishing private emails (that some of you may know about). Participants on the list are sophisticated about physical climatology and/or climate policy but have varying and sometimes low sophistication about computing. Almost certainly some of them spend some time getting email on compromised machines. We would like to be able to have private conversations among members of the list about
  • by Yunzil ( 181064 )

    Nobody actually knew what it was.

  • Wave failed for me because I couldn't get an invite and then promptly forgot about it. There's nothing like hyping something and then making sure it's not available to kill off a product.

  • and too configurable or flexible?

    I haven't tried it but the videos introducing it showed a 747-cockpit kind of UI (very busy, important info
    all over the place in unexpected or random locations.)

    The value of simplicity (for adoption) cannot be overemphasized.

    Simplicity of use (one text-entry field, two buttons), and non-clutteredness with mind-F***ing banner ads,
    are arguably among the main reasons the google
    search page was adopted over its competitors in the first place.

  • it's kinda like vim (Score:3, Interesting)

    by astrashe ( 7452 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:15AM (#33150338) Journal

    Wave was confusing, and it demanded a big shift in thinking up front -- sort of like vim. You couldn't just add little changes into your workflow incrementally. On top of that, you had to have someone else to do it with. It was hard to be a geeky guy who was interested, and willing to climb the learning curve on your own.

    So imagine you use a typical gui screen editor. And you want to learn vim. And the only way you can move forward is if you find someone else who's willing to use vim with you while you learn.

    Most people just aren't going to do it.

    Incremental gradual change is easier for people.

  • Not enough time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mascot ( 120795 ) on Thursday August 05, 2010 @11:17AM (#33150360)

    Wave has existed for three months or so. That's roughly how long it's been fast, stable and available to everyone. Just what did Google expect to happen in such a short time?

    Wave needed at least another _year_ or two to gain traction, not a few weeks. I somehow suspect the cost of running it was too high compared to any perceived way of monetizing it in the short term, and they pulled the plug.

    I suppose the good thing about it is that nobody's had time to become too dependent on it just yet. We do use it where I work, but so far we've held off on making ourselves dependent on it; wise choice it would seem. We did have plans in that direction though, wrongly assuming that since Google added it to Apps it was here to stay.

    I for one will miss it quite a lot, it made some activities so much easier than the alternatives, but I'll live.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.