Despite huge excitement from the Google Wave launch team last year, the application has failed to catch on with users and no further development will take place, Google has announced this week.
Why did it fail? It seemed such a good idea, allowing users to collaborate and share in real time, taking instant messaging, email, online collaboration and so on another step forwards. The reality however is that it was clunky to use and users found adopting current working practices to suit its vagaries too difficult, especially when there are multiple other tools available which could do the job more easily.
The likelihood is that Wave in some form will be incorporated into the Google version of Facebook (GoogleMe) about which rumours keep surfacing. After all, Facebook chat suffers from severe limitations, Twitter is often over-capacity and many find Twitter too ‘noisy’ to be useful in a corporate environment, whilst gen Y have been very slow to begin to use microblogging beyond Facebook, Bebo, Myspace etc.
Online collaboration tools abound and for businesses there are already a wide variety to choose from, but it may be that Google Wave in a new form, or adapted for use within other Google products, can bring together a new audience – social media animals – for whom collaboration differs from a business use, but still exists.
In the meantime, once again we see that Google trait of ‘fail quickly’. It is a lesson many could learn from and adopt. If a product is failing to achieve its goals, bin it!