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Google Kills Wave (googleblog.blogspot.com)
712 points by elfred on Aug 4, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 237 comments

Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked.

Did Google believe that this was going to succeed as a consumer product, à la Facebook?

Wave, as it exists today, is a great tool for corporate communications. With the right interfaces, integration, and extensions it could definitely displace Exchange and Lotus Notes. Eventually, as a protocol, it had the potential to transcend email.

Maybe Google just hoped Wave would appeal to a different market than it really does.


PS #1: I'm sure that corporate uptake of Wave in its current form was limited as well because of the absence of a reasonable client/server that you could run on your own network.

PS #2: Hopefully there are enough of us who like the protocol that, over a number of years, we can build Apache Foundation-quality F/OSS implementations of the needed components.

PS #3: It would be truly ironic if, say in 10 years time, Google finally integrated the Wave Protocol with Gmail because there had been enough private (but federated) uptake as an email replacement.

We use it exclusively for our meeting status reports, etc.

It's just a wicked solid tool for meetings and out-of-band document collaboration. I'd love to see it continue. I'm sad it didn't get the adoption they wanted, but I also wonder what they expected when they didn't even really try to integrate it with GMail.

If they could go back and time, exclude Buzz from Gmail but instead add Wave, I think they'd have better success for it.

If they could go back and time, exclude Buzz from Gmail but instead add Wave, I think they'd have better success for it.

No question. Wave should have been an alternate view of your Gmail account. Instead it was a completely distinct environment that you had to manage separately, which most people aren't going to be bothered to do.

Not to mention that for the first few months, none of my friends had an account. So even though I wanted to Wave, I couldn't really do it.

Once a few of my friends joined in, we thought we could plan our road-trips etc. on it easily and share photos later. Even then, there were always a few who said "What's a Wave?".

Definitely. I would invite friends, they'd be excited, but no one would check it and thus no one would use it, since there was no way to integrate it with anything non-wave.

I'm fairly confused about what 'success' is supposed to have meant here.

The main reason I didn't like it is a very simple one, and it has to do with automatic sign-in to Google properties based on whether you're logged into Analytics or Gmail or the like.

Since we use a corporate email for Analytics but personal ones for Wave it meant having to switch logins all the time. Might sound trivial but actually put me off using the product at all.

If you had an apps account, you could have requested Google Wave. We got it a while ago.

Ironically, Google just enabled multiple sign-ons, but I'm not sure it would have helped.

There's too much tied to my GMail account already.

I agree. We use Wave for all kinds of communication in our startup, and it's just an amazing tool for small workgroup communications and document drafting.

I'm actually rather peeved it's going away, because (1) I don't want to waste a bunch of time trying to migrate data out of Wave, and (2) there really isn't much out there that can replace Wave in our workflow. We use Wave as a GUI-editable wiki where documents gracefully age out of view, and it's just great for that. I'm really going to miss it.

http://www.zenbe.com/shareflow I remember this resembles Wave, minus the wiki thing. It's not free, however.

Yea I just recently got into using it heavily with my remote devs and it has rocked my world.

Really bummed out about this. But then again when Google "kills" something they rarely pull the plug completely.. it either stays in limbo indefinitely or evolves into something else

The announcement leaves open the possibility that the live collaboration and/or wiki functionality could end up in Gmail soon enough anyway: “We … will … extend [Wave] technology for use in other Google projects.”

Wave, as it exists today, is a great tool for corporate communications. With the right interfaces, integration, and extensions it could definitely displace Exchange and Lotus Notes.

Aren't these two sentences contradictory? 'Wave is a great product if you changed the interface, integration points and, really, if it was a different product'. I think there's a tendency to over-analyze the reasons Wave was not a success because it got a lot of coverage and came from Google - a company with a long track record of many successes. Whatever the merits of the over-arching idea of Wave, the actual implementation and the thing you got to use, frankly, blew. An interesting technology demo, maybe but as an actual product it was a horrendous, inscrutable, clunky mess - no amount of market targeting, faster approval of beta invites and a score of other remedies that don't address the basic deficiencies of the product (e.g. largely unusable) could have saved Wave. This remains true despite the fact that there exist a few merry bands of hyper-intelligent and/or masochistic mutants who have managed to get some use out of it.

I'm no mutant (and certainly not a a merry one), but I got a lot of use out of it. And I certainly didn't invest a lot of time into "figuring it out", I just used it in the simplest way I could, which is create new waves, talk to people on them, and that's it.

This proves, imo, that it wasn't a failure of product, but of marketing. Most people opened Wave and had no idea what to expect and no idea what to do with it, which led them to believe it was an "inscrutable mess". If I'd have shown you Wave without all the hoopla that Google used, I'd have said "here's a tool for project collaboration. Open a new topic whenever you want to talk about it, then all the team members can add/edit content and everyone can see it live, and it just works!". And I think then you would both a) understand it immediately, and b) understand whether it is of value to you.

Google set up such different expectations for it that it's no wonder people didn't "get it".

This proves, imo, that it wasn't a failure of product, but of marketing.

The fact that you personally found it useful doesn't, in itself, prove that it was a failure of marketing although, presumably, it proves you found it useful.

I know I didn't just look at it and close the window, completely not understanding what it was about. I understand what it is about, I just think it's bad. It has a dreadful UI and massive overlaying of concepts and features without much coherence. Just as an example, one superficial but reasonably accurate sign of clunky, ill-thought-out design is the presence of made-up terminology - wave has this in spades, what with the waves and the wavelets and the blips. These are fundamental usability problems - they can't be fixed by marketing.

Whatever the merits of the over-arching idea, the actual implementation and the thing you got to use, frankly, blew. An interesting technology demo, maybe but as an actual product it was a horrendous, inscrutable, clunky mess. [] This remains true despite the fact that there exist a few merry bands of hyper-intelligent and/or masochistic mutants who have managed to get some use out of it.

I think you've just described >50% of all software.

Or more. But most software doesn't get the coverage Google Wave had. We tend not to theorize at length why obviously terrible software fails, we just say 'oh that thing? yeah it sucked' and move on. I'm just making a simple point - Wave wasn't successful because it wasn't very good.

I totally agree and would add SharePoint as a potential victim. Maybe Google was the only company that could invent Wave but it was definitely the wrong company to market and sell it.

Not sure if the pieces of wave that are open-source are enough to build a product but there is definitely a real email problem inside corporations that Wave seems to have potential to solve. Google has very limited interest in products for intranets, their focus is the wider Internet.

The point I'm trying to make to this startup community is that there's money to made solving the corporate email problem. And the second mouse gets the cheese.

At the time wave came in, you already had email, twitter and facebook. I think it became one more thing to check. Given that it was supposed to be 21st century email, the fact that you couldn't switch to using wave instead of gmail is, I think, what didn't get it the adoption. If magically all your gmail were available and accessible via wave as well from day 1, we might all be waving now.

I know there were some dev attempts at bridging the two, but they were so lame as to be unusable as a replacement.

I did end up using it for some personal planning, a bit of group work within our company, etc. .. but it currently is still just "one more thing to check".

I think that there is another variable at play over here. Google needs to prove to Wall Street that they are a "serious" company. They have received a lot of rubs over their engineering culture from investors, and business onlookers. I've read people write stuff like " when did you last 'wave' someone?" etc. If for some reason Google faces a lean time, then such practices will be viewed as an excess by them and it will deprecate their evaluation.

So, what could appease almighty Wall Street better than this signal that Google is willing to kill a product, no matter how exciting, if it doesn't meet its bottom line?

In a way this is a really clever compromise, but taking such decisions may in fact hurt Google in the longer run by diluting its culture. Sometimes, the most promising of technologies is not economically promising in the shorter run, but who'll explain this to Wall Street?

We were unable to use Wave because it never worked for hosted Google accounts. That sucks.

Do you mean Google Apps for your domain? It does work. Quite well in fact.

I can confirm this. We have been using Wave with Apps since just after Wave launched. It took off internally for a while and then petered out, but it is definitely there. To get it, go to:


It needs (or, past tense ...) to be configured before it's available. On the apps configuration page...

I suspect that now that Google is trying to compete directly with Facebook, they looked at wave and saw that it wasn't going to be adapted by many non-corporate users, so they reallocated the resources to something that would be.

> Wave, as it exists today, is a great tool for corporate communications. With the right interfaces, integration, and extensions it could definitely displace Exchange and Lotus Notes. Eventually, as a protocol, it had the potential to transcend email.

Yes, a thousand times yes. If Google did the last 10% o the work:

* Sell a pre-packaged, serviced VM (in VMware, HyperV, and Xen formats)

* Made an Outlook plugin for wave

They would have a real 'embrace and extend' on their hands.

Too bad you could never run it inside the firewall AFAIK.

All the protocols were open-sourced as part of the initiative. I think they envisioned a world in which inside-the-wall installations existed in the same way the companies have Exchange servers today.

Except Microsoft is willing to sell you Exchange Server but Google wasn't willing to sell you a Wave server. Writing your own is very difficult; no one has managed to match Google's implementation.

Do you know what the problems are that make Wave servers hard to write? I'm writing something similar right now, and if there are enormous problems coming up, it would be nice to know about them now.

The real-time UI appears to be the hardest part; Google's client is something like 20K lines of GWT code. (Technically the client isn't part of the Wave "server", but since AFAIK you aren't allowed to use Google's client with your own server, if you write a server you also have to write a client. Also, I don't think the distinction is particularly relevant in Web apps.)

Absolutely. Wave looked like the perfect way for businesses to run project collaboration, but I can't use it at all until its inside our firewall and we control the data.

Sure we could spend time and effort to re-create the wheel, but if Google wants to monetize it, they will do the work for us and provide us with a product we can purchase.

Novell is working in something you could like: http://www.novell.com/products/pulse/

One wonders how the folks on the Novell Pulse team are feeling about this announcement. And how many hours they may have spent on "interoperability with Google Wave through the federation protocol".


There's no reason they couldn't provide an appliance (like the Google Search Appliance: http://www.google.com/enterprise/search/gsa.html) or simply make it available for a local install (like every mail server used by every company that cares about things being 'inside the firewall').

When they got the right interfaces, integration and extensions they will re-release it as another tool (It will be another tool then).

re. PS #3: I don't think it'll take 10 years to show up in gmail - at least, I hope not. I think Wave's great, but it's utility was limited by keeping it completely separated from existing tools (email, buzz, chat etc.).

It failed because it was completely invisible.

Facebook spams your inbox. They make sure you know that you have an account and that people are trying to reach you (or tell the world about their cat, etc).

With wave, it's silent. There was activity on a wave I was following in January. I found out about it in March. Someone replied to something I said on July 21st. I'm only just finding out now. What kind of a communication tool is that? It's like they're selling a phone that can't ring.

The other UI and social issues were important but weren't fatal. If Google had actually notified users when they got new messages, they would have logged into wave, sent more messages and wave would have lasted longer.

Instead, messages were sent but never read, so Wave lost all the momentum it had.

You're right: completely invisible. Wave would have been so cool if Google had plopped it right on top of Gmail, like Gchat and Buzz. Our Wave-enabled contacts would have gotten their messages as waves, seamlessly, and non-Wave contacts would have continued to receive regular emails. Wave collaboration could have been supported with notification emails to non-Wave contacts, like "we're editing this on Wave, so click here {...} to join in." Best of all, every Gmail user would have been upgraded to Wave... I thought that was supposed to be the plan! What a waste.

I'd like to ask one of the top Googlers just what they were thinking by positioning Wave as a replacement to email, chat, and online collaboration and NOT integrating those services into Wave itself. IPv4 to IPv6, hello! No migration plan means no migration. Email support means being able to use Wave and email at the same time; not having to choose.

Still trying to wrap my head around this, but at this point I'm not sure what's worse: a) Planning, developing, implementing, marketing, and supporting Wave as communications platform without regards to Gmail, Gchat, and Buzz or b) Axing Wave before trying to add Gmail, Gchat, and Buzz support

I think there wouldn't have been a negative response to dropping Wave into GMail either. Wave was this cool new thing, and arguably an extension of mail, it would have made sense. COmpare that to Buzz where it was obvious they were just trying to compete against Twitter and leverage their existing user base.

Similarly, there should have been a push to build more Wave clients. The google default one kinda sucked. I personally would have just like a Wave client built into Thunderbird that would keep me up-to-date on my half dozen mailboxes AND my Wave accounts at the same time.

The sad thing here is that Google did the polite thing, and turned off email notifications by default. It actually took some searching to figure out how to turn it on.

Contrast this with Buzz, where they dropped it right in the middle of your inbox. Quite the opposite strategy.

I suppose the solution I favor is to ask the user if they want notifications when they sign up. Or at the very least making it very obvious how to turn on notifications if you want them.

The notification messages were also not very well thought out, it was often confusing what had changed, requiring you to log in to Wave just to read a new message that could have easily been read via email.

The polite thing to me is keeping it all in one place so I don't have to go multiple places looking for updates.

The polite thing usually doesn't make good business sense. Ask Bill Gates.

They should have added a small but visible "new blip" icon to Gmail. That would have gone a long way, and nobody would have complained about spamming.

I bet the Wave and GMail teams have some animosity between them, and neither wants to help the other, even though officially they're "playing for the same team".

From what I gather, Google deliberately uses silo management (or whatever it is called). An engineer's performance reviews are based almost entirely on tangible work (lines of code) on his assigned product. Work on intangibles (mentoring, marketing strategy), or on tangibles outside the project (cross-product integration, future proofing) count against him.

Ex-Googler Piaw Na has an interesting post about this: http://piaw.blogspot.com/2010/08/tips-for-noogler-engineers....

You pose an interesting problem. It was (eventually) supposed to replace email, so I'm assuming it was envisioned everyone would check wave every day, or have it constantly open, etc.

Except it hadn't replaced email, so would the better alternative been to have Wave spam your email with updates? Seems kind of hypocritical..

The point is that Wave is never going to replace email over the night, so in the beginning it's very useful to get an email whenever something interesting happens. As you receive more and more emails, you realize that it's a lot easier to just keep Wave constantly open and you'll turn off email notification.

But before that point Wave does not deserve its own tab, and because of the lack of email notifications it's very easy to simply forget about checking Wave.

Except it hadn't replaced email, so would the better alternative been to have Wave spam your email with updates? Seems kind of hypocritical..

The better answer would have had settings available (defaulted to notifying) so users could choose when and how to be notified.

It was (eventually) supposed to replace email

While it may have been able to do this if handled correctly, nobody was going to check waves recently when invites where superexclusive and you could only communicate with random strangers you found on the ars-wave, which you also found entirely by random trying to see if it could be used for anything.

Really. It was solid technology and very neat engineering, but there was no social incentive to use it.

"If Google had actually notified users when they got new messages, they would have logged into wave, sent more messages and wave would have lasted longer. Instead, messages were sent but never read, so Wave lost all the momentum it had."

Google does, I always receive an email notifying me of new wave messages. I think google tried to sell a productivity tool as a mainstream product, working with Wave as a CSCW ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_supported_cooperative_... ) tool has been a dream so far. Too bad , they will stop working on it.

Edit: Quotation

Google should have run Wave as a startup, instead of just an experiment with a new real-time collaborative communication tool. If Wave were done by a startup team, probably it'd have been a different story. The team would be fighting and keep making noises, hustling their butts, and in the end, the product would probably have a higher chance to survive.

My favorite bit is the useless wave notification extension that asks me to login every 2 days because it looses my account information. If I have to login all the time to keep the notification tool alive, I may as well not have the notification tool.

agreed. if this had been integrated as a new type of message in gmail that had some interoperability with regular email, I think the results here would've been completely different. google never gave wave a fighting chance.

Just an FYI, sometime in the past few months they implemented email notifications.

Could you please rephrase your comment.

it's not like twitter ever sends/sent an email when someone you follow tweets.

Twitter is ephemeral. You can quite easily leave it for a month and miss nothing important. Nobody will care, nobody will miss you. Twitter will continue to function as long as people have egos, which is to say forever. (not trying to bash twitter here even though it sounds like it.)

Wave is quite different. It's designed for conversations and collaboration. In order for it to function, users need to be able to know when the other has responded quite quickly. Wave itself does nothing to ensure this.

I feel the same way about Twitter, but still it seems like Twitter bashing. You're not proving a point in your first paragraph, merely your opinion. This is especially true with the "leave it for a month and miss nothing important". I'm sure some people (not me) would feel quite differently.

Sorry, but this is Google's fault. Right when all us geeks were HUNGRY to start trying out this system, only a handful of us received invites, and when I did, it took WEEKS or longer for anyone else I worked with to get an invite IF they ever did.

So, Wave was useless to me to begin with and by the time it was available to everyone, I wasn't interested and neither were any of my co-workers.

I would blame the launch for the failure of this one.

I think that Google saw that artificial scarcity worked well with gmail and thought the same would be true for Wave. The problem, of course is that a Gmail account didn't depend on anyone else having one to be useful. Wave, in theory was an open standard as well, but in practice, Google was and is the only provider.

I think more a more likely explanation is that they lacked the infrastructure to roll it out effectively. If that's the case then they should have just waited until they could deliver.

It's pure conjecture of course!

It wasn't so much that they lacked infrastructure as that the early versions didn't scale so well.

I got a very early invitation, and it was pretty slow, and got worse as they added more users. They fixed that of course, but it did slow down the roll-out.

So why not have another rollout? Sponsor some contests? Hold more demos in tech conferences? Build a Wave-to-Twitter gateway? Build a demo site which gives every HN article it's own wavelet, or whatever?

Probably one of their mistakes was not to have interoperability between Wave and Gmail at an early stage. I think they ruled out doing that early on.

I was also a lone waver for a long time. I think the same happened to many users, so the way in which it was launched should have been different. However, I don't think that the failure can be blamed entirely upon the launch strategy. Performance of wave was really poor, and as the conversations became longer the refresh rate really dragged.

I think a lesson here for Google is that when they initially launch a product to a small number of users, they should really try to encourage the early adopters and make sure that they don't end up stranded with no other users to talk to, because those early adopters will become evangelists if they're well treated. Perhaps they should have just kept Wave quiet and then launched it a year later to everyone.

It's didn't help that google's response to user feedback was "you just don't understand it" rather than improving the product.

I mean, we still have to contend with a broken, nonstandard, useless scrollbar in the product.

Completely agree. Whoever planned the launch strategy for Wave should be flogged.

Wave had huge potential. I can't believe Google are so short-sighted as to let it go so quickly, with so little effort.

I get the sense that the launch strategy wasn't flawed as much as no one really understood the real use cases. Without that, no one knew how to properly communicate benefits and target the right users. (I would also guess that they never thought they'd get the level of publicity they got.)

And by the time Wave had had enough testing, they had lost all the early momentum. At some point you've got to choose where you put your effort!

Flogging people for having trouble scaling at Google's size is not nice.

Total agreement here. I was very interested in checking it out, but I wasn't allowed to, in spite of all the publicity? It didn't make me want to go begging for invites, it just made me ignore it.

I feel bad for the Etherpad guys, who as I understand it, sold AppJet to Google to work on Google Wave: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=977015

I still miss etherpad. I use some of the alternatives, but it's not the same :(

alternatives: http://etherpad.org/etherpadsites.html

Google Docs seems to support a very Etherpad-like interface, but it's a little too bloated for what I used to use Etherpad for.

A while ago Google Docs even switched to using Etherpad-style operational transformation instead of diff-match-patch. Some pretty mind-bending technology here:


They released the code, host your own (I have a friend who does):


Google docs is very similar to what etherpad used to be. All be it far less user friendly you can watch others edit and update in real time.

There's two main differences for me.

a) It takes some work to create a new Google doc and set it up for sharing. Etherpad was as simple as pasting the URL.

b) Etherpad shows changes from different users with a different background color. Google Docs is invisible.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Yes, you're right, but "albeit" is the word you're looking for, not "all be it".

It's a mandatory contraction. You can't correctly write "all be it", just like you can't correctly write "where as".

Interesting, but dictionary.com and m-w.com claim that it's a contraction of "al(though) be it".

  * http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/albeit
  * http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/albeit

who as I understand it, sold AppJet to Google to work on Google Wave

somehow i don't think they need your sympathies ... they probably got a decent amount of money from their acquisition, so they're probably not crying right now ;)

Can money replace seeing your vision for realtime collaboration die twice? I'm sure they're not hurting, but if they were building the technology because they believed it could transform the way we interact with each other for the better... Well, that still has to sting.

Can money replace seeing your vision for realtime collaboration die twice?

There is another way of looking at this. Let me rephrase that for you:

Isn't it nice that Google gave us all that money in order to let us try our idea a second time? Just look at all the lessons we learned in preparation for the third time. Google may even open-source all our work so we can take it with us.

The Etherpad guys originally tried to build a platform (AppJet). Then etherpad took off, and they pivoted to building the company around that.

Not saying they wouldn't be a bit disappointed, just that their original version changed at least once and they seem to have dealt with that ok.

What's cooler:

1) a smallish hunk of cash

2) a thriving enterprise built around your vision for improving how people communicate

The Etherpad sellout was, and is, the most disappointing acquisition I can remember.

1) a smallish hunk of cash

i dunno how much they each got in the acquisition, but i doubt it was 'smallish'. it wasn't like they sold some artwork online for $30.

They are probably working on something cool after wave. Maybe Google Me?

I agree and more sadly Wave in the form of Etherpad would have succeeded. A more de-centralized architecture with many Etherpad servers would have been perfect. Company related traffic wouldn't have left the LAN and of-site traffic would have been routed via federation protocol to other servers.

This really makes me sad. I work in media, and I have found that the collaborative aspects of Wave really made that process easier. I scored an entire film earlier this year, and the producers and I only used Wave as our collaboration space. It was beautiful. Keeping track of various versions of each cue was easily 10x easier than my usual mode (email/FTP/Skype/Phone/etc).

We started off with a collaborative list of every cue needed during the first run through, and then let that list grow bigger and bigger with inline replys. Wave's built-in media features meant that I could paste mp3's into the space and let the filmmakers hear my work immediately, and then download the file to put into the project. This meant that when it came time to FTP the big, uncompressed files, it was only the finals, which made things a lot easier.

Likewise, collaborating with temp music was a breeze-- the filmmakers even scored a few sections of the film with temp music and then put the video right into the conversation. (No more folders full of giant quicktime files with different scores).

I know that I'm going to miss that experience. Oh well. Perhaps someone will take the open-source'd code from Google and build a better product.

I'm not holding my breath.

I, for one, am very dissapointed by this. Even worse I feel somehow partially responsible. I have been a huge proponent of Wave in theory, but even after getting into the early beta I just never found myself /using/ it. I blame this mainly on it lacking the social graph I cared about.. But I thought I could just bide my time and in 5 years it would have taken over.

I am starting to feel like I will have to deal with "MY REPLY IN RED" company chain email threads from hell forever now.

I blame it on never understanding the UI, the way it did things, or its usefulness. It's like a chat you can't delete things from, and everyone sees what you type and all your mistakes? And you can post pictures?

I just don't get it.

As with an unfortunately large number of Google things, Wave was an absolutely stunning work of engineering art with a merely passable UI. The engineers obviously drove the development process, with the designers not being invited in until it was too late.

But this is where there exists, not to mince words, a monumentally huge opportunity. As Google begins to open-source more of Wave, there's room for a more UX-focused team to really bring out the tech's potential.

I'm not talking a new skin or even a new home layout; I'm talking a new software product that uses the real-time collaboration system in an ingenious new way. Google solved the engineering problem; now someone needs to solve the interaction design problem.

There's an option on every blip in every wave that says "Delete This".

You can even delete other people's blips!

People can only see your mistakes if they're in the wave and looking while you type (ie, "Chat Mode"). If it's used like email (that is, checking it a few times per day), they see only the snapshots of what happened when the "Done" button was pressed.

You can add pictures. You can embed YouTube videos. You can have links.

Honestly, yeah, it takes some getting used to, but once you're used to it, it's no more complicated than Outlook. Personally, I think using Outlook to set up a meeting notice is harder than using Wave.

The incredibly powerful, federated, open protocol/platform was what excited us geeks.

The client always sucked and was, at the most generous, a tech demo of things the protocol/platform was capable of.

And the problem is that the client is what Google marketed.

The client should have been nothing but a tech demo. The potential power of Wave was in that it could move totally arbitrary data between independently federated servers, and had support for robots that could manipulate that data in arbitrary ways.

It could have been a Facebook/Twitter/Flicker/Whatever killer, but Google got tied down with working on the bloated UI rather than building out the platform and letting others handle the frontend of it.

Not to mention its crazy amount of javascript usage-Wave brought most of the browsers I tried it on to a crawl on my laptop. I really like the concept, but for many reasons never liked the execution.

That didn't take very long now did it? I never even got around to checking it out.

Aren't they afraid that the next product they announce in this fashion will be met with some scepticism from potential early adopters, who might think 'I'll wait for a bit to see if it stays', which in turn will lead to a cycle where it gets harder and harder for google to release new stuff and get it adopted?

edit: would be nice if they open sourced the code.

They launched Wave in May of 2009. It's not like they yanked it all that quickly.

Microsoft announced, then released, spent $250M on advertising, and then killed a new phone in that time.

To be fair, Google did the same thing in the same time frame with the Nexus One, minus the ad budget.

Sometimes disrupting existing markets and paradigms takes time, patience, and several iterations.

(I'm still disappointed at how quickly they stopped the direct-sale idea with the Nexus One)

The biggest problem with selling the Nexus One direct was support. Carriers didn't want to support a phone that hadn't branded and Google couldn't accept that people don't want to ask a community message board and wait a few days for a reply when their phone doesn't work.

The community message board support model doesn't work for google. My current peeve is this god-awful bug thread for adding an additional account to an Android phone:


Microsoft made $250M profit yesterday.

While that sounds great, according to http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=(+microsoft+profit+)+/+... it's actually 51 million/day. So it took them a full week to make the 250 million. Or was yesterday special?

He was ironic. I am always fascinated to see people that do not understand that kind of humor.

To be ironic, you should have said 250 billion :).

It was announced in May 2009. It wasn't publicly released until three months ago (http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20005394-264.html).

It had an invite system like Gmail, millions of users were in before it was "public". I signed up in November 2009 (and last logged in then too).

Given the "this is the future of communication" fanfare, I think some of us expected it to be a long term play.

The public beta was only made available in May or June this year (as I recall).

They yanked it way before it had any chance of succeeding. I wanted to use it and didn't get the chance before they yanked it. I saw the video in early 2009, thought it looked awesome. The website said it would be available to the public "by the end of the year", or something. I kept checking back. It wasn't available, even in early 2010. Finally, in June 2010, I noticed it was available. I signed up. I didn't have anybody to Wave with (so sad). Then a few weeks ago, I needed to collaborate with a friend on a project. I told them to sign up for Google Wave. My friend said "didn't they cancel that?"

I think that is a great point. It makes me think of the future of "Google Me", which is going to take them more than a year to get serious traction as well.

It seems that at their scale, Google doesn't bother to (is unable to?) evolve individual products, rather they pivot by launching and killing entire projects.

The same thing happened with Google's 3D world product, Lively, and the following comparison of Lively with IMVU by Eric Ries is pertinent:

"By the time they [Google] actually managed to launch something, they were building the product that we had already discovered was not the right product 100 iterations ago.

"But they launched it with such high fanfare and expectations; they were so convinced they got it right, that it was actually the mismatch between the expectations that Google--one of the most public companies in the world--put behind this product, and then its pathetic results...

"The product wasn't a bad product and it's not like nobody wanted to use it (of course they wanted to use it for stuff that embarrassed Google) but it was the mismatch that really caused them to have to pull it; it was very embarrassing for them...

"Even after they launched they really didn't give it enough time to learn and iterate because they had set the wrong expectations, a classic big-company [inaudible]."

[http://venturehacks.com/articles/lean-startup -- starting at 6:35 in the audio]

This is really a key point. Outside of a few wave template buttons, has any of the core interface problems with the Wave client been addressed since the initial semi-private-invite-only release? Wave seems fundamentally the same to me as a user as it did a year ago when I first saw it. Yet users in general have complained about the same problems the entire time, none of which appear to have been addressed.

From last year...

"Poll: What do you think of Google Wave?"


The problem with useradoption of wave largely came from their invite-only strategy. It's a social tool that requires my friends to have an account for it to be of any use. If they don't have invites and can't join it's useless.

It's amazing that Google didn't see this.

That is dead-on the reason I stopped using it.

Woot! I got an invite.

Dang, none of my friends did.

Well... when can I get them one.

Forget about this. Meh. Back to email, IM, IRC and Twitter.

I managed to invite my friends, only to find one non-geek who didn't know how to install Chrome Frame, and couldn't run anything but IE on her work machine (corporate policy).

The overhead of using IM group chats when she was in the conversation, and Wave when it was the rest of us, was too much, so we just dumped Wave.

Kudos to Google for understanding this and cutting their losses (relatively) early. I remember reading about their effort to cut down on useless products and focusing on the core search/AdWords/Gmail/etc, this is the effect of that.

I really hope Buzz is next.

Disagree entirely. Mainly cause I'm a very happy Wave user, and I think it absolutely has a place. It's just not the place Google envisioned at first (it's also not the same product they pitched at first).

This is, imo, a failure to Pivot. They have a working tool that, by their own admission, has many users. Why not capitalize on this fact, and start selling the product to the people it is useful for? I'm guessing it's just because Google likes huge, spectacular products over smaller, but still quite successful alternatives.

I think they're killing it too quickly. It's not like it was a resounding failure.

Those who have adapted it and taken the time to really learn and use it swear by it, which strongly implies there is opportunity for it. It's not so much a product failure as a launch or marketing failure.

Pandora.com, for example, had similar problems getting initial traction, but stuck it out long enough to get over the hump (thanks in large part to iOS and Android), and are now one of the hot 'new' things.

Sometimes I think you can kill promising products too quickly in an attempt to stick with 'fail early/fail often'.

Feel the same about killing it too soon. But then Google is Google and probably judge success in adoption rate base on the results with Gmail and Chrome.

My guess is there is an up coming project (Google Me?) that shares some similarity with Wave but is targeting the friends&family group rather than workgroup. They probably will not outsource Wave as some of its tech will find its way to this upcoming project.

I like the fail fast strategy too.

But Buzz is great! What don't you like about it?

The complement of Release Early/Often is probably Kill Early/Often.

EDIT: spelling fixed, thanks!

You know what the complement of Kill Early/Often is? It's me never letting my shop use a new Google product ever again.

People invest time in adopting these technologies. Sure, with a little startup you take into account the fact that they might not be able to survive, but with Google you think hey, okay, let's use this thing. And you start developing your process around it. And then you get burned when it gets dropped with "Oh well we lost interest, okay we love you, bye bye!".

So today, my guys would have been better off sticking with their lousy wiki that having switched to Wave (despite the fact that they liked it and felt it increased their productivity - personally, I never warmed up to it).

Fool me once...

Yep, same here. I gave a friggen' talk about Wave at a TechCrunch event. I used it. I wrote an article about it. Inc.com wrote a "personal viewpoint" column where they presented me as a Wave supporter.

Google just lost all credibility with me as an early adopter. From now on, I'll wait 2 years before I start supporting a new Google product, since they apparently have no staying power.

Imagine how these guys feel:


Too bad they'll never let something last 2-years.

The risk of that happening was obvious to me and probably others as well. Heck, whenever you have a dependency on some external service there's a risk that service or provider could go away. Provide the service yourself, or scratch that itch another way, and you'll be immune to that risk. They didn't force you to use Wave, and in fact they were nice enough to let you use it for free, so I don't see what grounds you have to complain about it going away.

they were nice enough to let you use it for free

They didn't give me the option to pay for it to keep it though, did they.

It's not the case that google (or any other tech company out there) gains nothing by "letting people use things for free". They gain the possibility of creating/cornering a niche, they get a bunch of advocates that help them spread their brand (see swombat's comment), they get an army of unpaid beta-testers, they can sell market dominance to their advertisers, etc etc.

But, if they keep releasing and dropping products, they will lose those things. That is their call, and they are free to make it - I just wanted to point out one consequence.

The plus side for the HN populace is that people like me are more than happy to pay a specialist shop for the chance that it will stick around and develop its product. This is why my photos are on smugmug and not picassa, why my notes are in evernote and not google notebook (another release-and-drop product), why my to-do list is in toodledo and not google tasks, etc etc.

Frankly if Google went poof tomorrow, the only thing I would really cry over would be google reader. I am actually very sad it has come to this.

Peter Norvig has confirmed this, and says that the great majority of Google's projects die before anybody even hears about them. This lets them try things out cheaper, so the ideas they do invest a lot of time and money into will have a higher probability of success.


I think you wanted to say "complement".

Does anyone else here think that Etherpad could have been more successful than Google Wave?

Personally I still use Etherpad more than Wave through the open source implementation.

That was fast. I remember watching the announcement (in person) and wondering who it was really meant for. At the time it felt like a solution in search of a problem.

What I did really like was the work they'd done on change-set propagation. Don't have a link to the session on hand, but it was quite interesting.

Honestly I'm amazed by how unanimously friendly Hacker News (and Reddit) are to Wave.

It was the anti-suckless - overengineered, XML and web-based, anti-privacy, pampering users instead of educating them (e.g. in a corporate environment, using a VCS together with IRC is a much better way to exchange information). I would've expected at least one contrary voice somewhere :)

I say good riddance.

It's a nice case study of too much engineering and too much technology, with far too many unnecessary features to start with, with too much of a roll-out (the basic feature demo took over 45 minutes) to too few people without nearly enough thought into actual use cases of a rather complex piece of software that simply didn't perform that well in real world scenarios.

"What's a Wave?" - should be answerable in a couple of sentences, I don't think it ever achieved that level of refinement before being put out into the world.

Even though the basic idea was great, performance of the software in-browser has never been that great, server performance was problematic, especially when waves became too long, no export option of collaborate waves to documents, no real integration with email. Plus it was hard to organize waves. After it went pseudo-public nothing really new happened to it and old weird problems like the funky scrollbar were never addressed.

That being said, I've used it on a number of projects, a couple quite big six-month ordeals, and found it an amazing collaborative environment if you disciplined your team a bit and organized things well at the start of the project.

The concept, combining several, different, modes of communication in one environment is pretty sound actually, I just think that the modes were combined a little too singularly. Certain things like real-time chat and document collaboration are fundamentally different things that should have been relegated to different parts of the interface rather than jammed into one place.

"But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked." Duh, the rollout was rather botched and given what I think I've detailed it's no wonder.

"What is Wave" should have been "a document collaboration tool with real-time side-channel chat and group email" would have been better for the use-cases my group fell into.

What I was really excited about, and what never seemed to materialize in terms of a release from Google, was that ability to run my own Wave server and federate with other Wave servers. That's what I wanted, and what never happened.

What suprises me is the short lifespan of the product to the public before killing it. While some of us may have had Wave invites for a while, it has been only been open to the public for less then 3 months.

And the vast majority don't even know that it exists.

I liked it, just didn't like the interface. I was an early adopter and very excited about the protocol. When I was looking at it, there wasn't enough client specification to bother working on an alternative client (ie: emacs). Hopefully that has changed (or will change before Google drops support).

I found it really useful for collaborating with multiple parties. It allowed us to work on a document and keep the conversation all in one place yet clearly separated. Sometimes email can make that distinction difficult or unclear.

At least it's not entirely closed source. :)

This is what I thought. I wasn't going to pay attention until they specified the client protocol (Wave needs an Emacs mode). Most of the complaints I've heard about Wave stemmed from its AJAX-heavy user interface. How many people had new enough browsers to even use Wave?

Wave was simply over-developed internally, and by the time it was released it had evolved an esoteric, private feature set and interface that had suited the Google beta testers. I for one was simply bewildered by the interface and found it difficult to incorporate into my workflow.

I wanted to like wave. It just always seemed like a solution looking for a problem.

Is it just me or is the source not easily discoverable? I found the wave protocol sources, but i can't really find the individual components. If anyone could point me to the right repo it would be much appreciated!

I guess my new wave client http://micro-wave.appspot.com is a little more dead.

No, the protocol and a basic server implementation are still open source. You will need a new provider I guess. Keep it alive!

Is that open-source anywhere? That's actually pretty slick.

that link nails browser back button

Given there seems to be real demand for this product, it may well be an opportunity for a startup to build a competitor.

If Wave was launched with the Gmail integration of Buzz I think we would be discussing a completely different outcome.

Is buzz doing any better?

I think the problem is two-fold both with Buzz and Wave. First the implementation and the adoption.

I think Wave idea is awesome, but their implementation (and performance) has been always an issue. My communication is already fragmented over so many places I don't want another domain for another form of communication. They should have added wave into Gmail by default. Wave always had horrible performance issues (still does).

Buzz doesn't solve any communication problem that I can't use it on any other popular services. So Buzz adoption doesn't make sense to me whether its integrated to Gmail or not.

Buzz is a "me too" product. Wave was not.

I believe Buzz has double digit millions of active users. I can not find the source currently though.

You can't make people solve problems they don't have. If Google failed with the Hype Winds at their backs, then I doubt anybody can do it.

That's an interesting perspective. I would state it somewhat differently, though. I think Wave solved too many problems simultaneously, making it overly complex in some ways and hiding its true utility in others.

While I agree that a large part of the blame for Wave's failure falls on Google, I think its hard to make the case that it "solve[s] problems [people] don't have".

Anyone who's ever dealt with the horror of a multi-user email thread (>>>>>This sort of thing, or perhaps "My_Doc_CASEY'sVERSION.doc")knows that Wave at least solves that problem fairly well.

Of course, no one really cares about that if you can't get your whole team onto Wave in the first place.

That sucks, we left basecamp/campfire for Google Wave and it was a really good fit for us (collaborative work with a distributed team).

I said it before and I'll say it again: wave solved all of the wrong (easy) problems of communication and failed to tackle any of the hard problems. The result was a highly polished mashup of existing communication forms based on cutting edge technology that made for an excellent demo but a very poor (or at best niche) product. See also: the Segway.

P.S. Re: hard vs. easy problems: Wave tackled some hard challenges in the implementation space, which I think may have led the engineers into thinking they were building something innovative and worthwhile. However, the important bit is whether or not you've actually solved anything in the problem space.

Wave may have been an idea whose time is yet to come.

When I played around with the beta my brother and I agreed that it was too slow to be useful. That was the last time I touched it.

This was mostly because I was working in a company where getting people to document was enough of a difficulty without introducing new software. If I'd worked somewhere with a bunch of early-adopters, it would have been a fantastic tool.

On the other hand, Wave seems like a tool that almost replicates all of the benefits of being in the same room as someone. I don't think there's a better way to do a distributed workplace. (Of course, I haven't tried.)

> When I played around with the beta my brother and I agreed that it was too slow to be useful. That was the last time I touched it.

Slow? I can only assume people who said this weren't using the latest FF or Chrome. I've never considered Wave slow at all.

The Chrome team valiantly tried to incorporate it into our design process, but stopped using it precisely because it was painfully slow.

At the beginning, on Firefox, it was soul-deadeningly slow.

I don't think Wave as a product failed. I think it failed as a product Google imagined/wanted it to be. They expected Wave to replace the way we use email. I didn't buy it then and I don't buy it now, after the fact. The tech was cool and useful but changing consumers habits and especially on something like communication is very very hard. So I am not really surprised it did not get adoption. I agree with some of the comments below that if it was integrated tightly within Gmail, it would worked better and PERHAPS it would helped more users try it, like it and adopt it ..slowly.

So, that leaves us with 0 popular GWT applications? Or did Google build anything new / ported something old with it?

I think it was grievously hurt by google's slow-start "invite" thing.

It was a catch-22. You needed people to collaborate with for it to catch on, but you needed to wait a long time to invite people.

When more people say "I tried it, haven't really used it though" than "I use it regularly" you know your product has failed.

You could say that about Twitter, though, and it's difficult to find anyone today who considers Twitter a failure.

I wrote this elsewhere; it summarizes my opinion. I'll just add that, in addition to the below, Google also simply needs to allow sufficient time for such a new paradigm (albeit an amalgam of many separate, older, established paradigms) to gain adoption.


I find this quite disappointing. Wave as a concept -- and apparently its underlying implementation -- is brilliant. It pretty much exactly fixes a number of significant barriers I've repeatedly, persistently encountered in professional, collaborative communication.

However, in a fashion that's becoming all too typical for Google, the user interface was spartan and disjointed to the point of outright sucking for anyone who was not an "uebergeek" already at least passingly familiar with the paradigms they were using.

Just like with their Android Nexus phone: They didn't need to improve the technology further as much as they needed to make it usable for the common user. In the phone's case, that meant real customer support. In Wave's case, that meant a meaningful, obvious user interface and much less spartan documentation, including non-linear textual references and not just so many overcute, time-consuming, and shared-environment-adverse videos many of which were broken into frustratingly small snippets. The videos did, I suppose, demonstrate the dynamic interface better than a bunch of text and static pictures might, but then this was in significant part the fault of the interface that gave no visual indicators of what to click or drag, much less what doing so would accomplish.

Google really should give Wave more time, and devote a small cadre of staff to fixing the UI, and another small cadre of staff to some coherent, consistent promotion and public training/documentation. Once people grasp what it can do and how to do it in a quick, intuitive fashion, I argue they would have users aplenty. They've already added it as a beta feature to their Google Apps online office software suite. That crowd is ripe for adoption, if adoption is made straightforward.

Isn't it obvious that the #1 reason wave failed was because it wasn't backwards compatible with email? If I could I have received all my email over wave, as well as new waves, I would have started using it immediately. But if its separate, I have to add yet another thing to check to my life? No thanks.

Building community needs evangelizing it, building brand ambassadors out of your users and most important "listening to your users closely". One needs to set up a mode of direct conversation. This comes naturally when you start small like twitter or youtube.

When you have few million user base ready to consume whatever you advertise on gmail or search - you are trying to buy out of old rewards. Worse users are non-forgiving and expectations are much high.

So it sounds like a big company problem. But it really isn't. Yahoo does it really well with yahoo answers. There is even today a high response rate from yahoo team through "Ask Mike"

Google should probably consider small teams within. Provide all the support through tech and hardware but let the teams launch these products on their own and grow the userbase naturally focusing on service too along with the product.

Google put absolutely 0 muscle behind this product. Android got front page placement on Google and it has now overtaken iPhone. They either didn't truly believe in Wave or the marketing team just made a huge gaffe by not even making a half ass attempt to push this product to the consumer world.

Microsoft Bobs. Google Waves.

Apple OpenDocs.

i don't get which problem was it solving. is it cool that they've introduced character-by-character typing? well, kinda.. but is it useful at all?

it's also cool (for someone) that it looks like a desktop app, but is it needed? it's maybe cool that i have all my contacts from gmail there, but do i need this? i mean i don't even get why would i think of my gmail as a social network, it's my inbox, and it's fine for what it does.

I mean its hard not to appreciate people trying to innovate, but it actually has to solve some sort of problem.. or maybe it's just me not getting the concept (however it's still so much more interesting than all these buzz, rule.fm etc)

I wrote an article on the topic back then:


"What problems does Google Wave solve?"

Wave solved many problems. Google are idiots to axe it after barely a year and a half.

Google needs to focus on their core competency which is search. Instead of competing with everyone they should find ways to integrate their search engine into everything. It boggles my mind we don't integrate Google search into everything like we do with the Twitter API. If they continually strive for second place in every category they may one day find themselves second in search as well. Wave is just another lesson in the long string of failures they will continue to produced until they get back to what made them great in the first place.

unfortunate. it was a good product, for the right market, but it was overhyped and it underdelivered.

And what was the market, exactly?

Seems to me that not a single person I knew actually wanted to use it, or thought it filled a niche they needed filling.

its my understanding groups that had to do a high level of collaboration across several people found it pretty useful. i know some people that still use it for this and are happy, although i'm sure that if it closes down, they'll find another product and carry on.

I used Google wave for feature/ticket tracking. The only thing I could fault it for was the wacky interface which didn't always work correctly. It was nice to have a hosted, free ticket tracking app that did just enough to get by for that purpose (for personal use I don't need anything as complicated as Redmine, Trak, or Bugzilla; don't have much desire to host my own app; and I'm too cheap to pay someone to host something I could do myself).

Now I'll have to move all of that state somewhere else.

Based on the initial reactions to the first Google Wave demonstration by a few non-tech friends of mine I thought Google Wave might gain the necessary product adoption and momentum. I erred and so did many other folks.

I applaud Google for their willingness to stop investing precious development resources in something that looked like the next big thing but turned out to be a great product without consumer approval.

It was time. That´s true that "You can't make people solve problems they don't have". But the idea was excellent,maybe later can work.

That is sad - I have written a few Wave Robots and wrote an article on Wave. I never thought of it as a user-facing system as-is, but instead liked it as a development platform. I probably invested a little less than 80 hours playing with Wave and writing Robots, and I think it was time fairly well spent, even if Wave is going away.

Excellent. Wave was made using obsolete technology and some wrong choices made it in regarding push vs. pull, distribution, modularity, "social mediafication" and encryption among other things.

There were some good things about it, and Hopefully we will now see some real contenders rise up to tackle the Future of Communication(tm).

Preferrably not from Google. Sorry.

This was Wave's failure: One year after release (and having never used it), I still don't really know what it does.

Can't they just stop improving it and keep it running? It's not like they need to save their server resources.

I think Wave is a creative and full of effort generalization of a basic idea: adding something to GMail to promote online work coordination and cooperation. They went way too far and they realized it. I would, istread of throwing everything away, rework the concept and see what can come out.

Understandable, but still a shame.

We've got a wave going with about 14 people planning our trips to Ruby Kaigi in a few weeks. It's working really well and has definitely provided value that would be tricky to find elsewhere.

Could Wave have worked better if it targeted a vertical? Or is that not how Google does things?

Is this the same thing as Buzz?

If I want to 'connect' with friends, I have Facebook, and if I want to im work colleagues, I have Yahoo and MSN.

For document collaboration I have email for non-realtime, Google Docs for near and actual real-time.

I have a hard time seeing where my workflow needs any more collaboration tools.

I wonder if the team can continue working on an open source implementation in their 20% time.

I think the reason for Wave's failure is simpler than most posts here suggest. Wave was just way too complicated as an end user tool. It is a technology wanting to be an application. I hope it can live on as a technology underlying real applications.

They should really reprint this shirt, in light of this announcement, for hipsters to wear.


Wave was a bit too sci-fi. A bit too ahead of its time maybe. Maybe it's best if the technology is split up and spoon-fed to the general population ... that way people can get a taste. I think change needs to be incremental.

That's a shame. I'd have used it if other friends and colleagues adopted it, it was pretty good at what it did. I think the issue was that it didn't solve any big enough problems for people to encourage them to get on.

Everything that distracts from Google Me is obviously being shut down.

I don't know what other services you're referring to, but that was my first thought.

A year is really short to get a revolutionary way of working to catch on. Why give up so easily? Maybe they couldn't figure out a working business model for this one.

This makes me feel a little better about the time when I sat on tons of invites & never really got around to using Wave. I'm one of those who never grokked wave.

Google also wanted it to be tool for all the enterprise, what will happen to other implementation of Google wave for enterprises, for example say Novel's pulse?

I was thinking about this recently: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1362223

google wave is dead because of google.

google provided limited accounts and google wave requests was being sold, so the hype got created.

overcommit and underdelivery, 2009 was not 2004, gmail style launch for wave was the first nail in the coffin

though you have your account, your friends dont, you were waiting alone, it was not the realtime communications I expected. what do I do, leave google wave, this has happened with so many people whom I know.

I guess my new wave client is even more dead. http://micro-wave.appspot.com

innovative technology feels like art sometimes, it should exist for the sake of it. "L'art pour l'art", Innovation for innovation!

I wonder how much pressure for canceling such an ambitious product came from people invested in the Apps team?

This was a product worthy of being spun out into a standalone company, free to pitch at the corporate market

They blew it big time by hyping it for RPGs, which never went anywhere.

Get the RPGers on board, perhaps, and you can succeed.

They blew it by making it confusing to understand what you'd use it for, making it confusing to know which of your friends had accounts (no integration with gmail!) and confusing to know when someone sent you a new "wave" (no integration with gmail!).

...there is an "email me when a wave gets updated" option, you know.

They even let you decide how often you want to get emailed. I chose once/day, but you could go all the way up to one email for every blip updated/added.

And this way works with all email, not just gmail!

There's a link in that email to send you straight to what's updated. How much integration do you want, exactly?

While you're correct, that option was added far too late. By the time that option was added, everyone in my organization had tried Wave and then given up on it. I revived its use in the last week, successfully, with that option, only to see that it's now going to die anyway.

Really, all of Wave can be summarized by the fact that, at its launch, Wave deliberately refused to participate in any existing communications medium other than Wave. This meant that everyone you cared about had to get on Wave. Since that couldn't possibly happen, Wave was doomed from the start. Nothing about today's announcement is remotely a surprise to me.

It also sucked. You would get an email that something changed, and the context given was the first message/blip/whatever in the wave instead of the message added at the end. It was a huge let down to log into wave just to read 'yeah' as the entirety of the update. Leaving me to ignore wave update emails even more.

That feature was so confusing I had to explain to my computer-literate-but-confused-by-Wave friends.

Hard to edit your preferences, hard to get other people into it, hard to get reminders set up. If they could relaunch and make all those things better, Wave would be stellar. I almost wish they'd break backwards compatibility for people who loved the interface because it just went in the wrong direction.

Did they launch with these features? I distinctly recall thinking "how do I know who's on this thing?" and repeatedly going back to the site in hope that someone else I knew finally used the site and sent me a message.

The technology might be great but the launch and execution were really, really weird.

They did not.

Well, they did originally have "who's online" functionality, but they had to yank it when someone found an exploit, and it took them forever to get it working again.

The "email me" option was much later - around the time they went from "Preview" to "Beta", I think. And as thorax said in his reply to me, Google flubbed the UI/usability of the preferences.

As far as "who has a Wave account", it's the same scheme as email. You get a Wave address; you're responsible for letting all your friends know what your address is (e.g., mine's in my HN profile). Probably could've been improved by hooking into Facebook/Twitter/etc. and spamming out your Wave address to all your friends...

My little group of friends is using it for a DnD RPG. It's orders of magnitude better than the IRC chatroom we were using before.

It's going to be annoying having to go back to IRC.

They discontinued development themselves.

It's a widely accepted rule of thumb that no technology can succeed without RPGs being involved. ?:o

Kingdom of Loathing players were using it back in March, though they seem to be a more intellectual playerbase compared to most RPGs.

to me it seems that google-wave could not gather enough user adoption precisely because it was invite only. gmail could get away with it, because the _nature_ of email 'collaboration' (sic) doesn't mandate both endpoints to be gmail.

whatever the reason, kind of sad anyways.

I think adobe connect is the way to go, as far as corporate collaboration tools.

Ouch Etherpad guys!

Perhaps Google is coming out with WaveDocs (wave integrated google docs) soon?

in two words : It was a good idea, but badly implemented. I'm not telling I would have done a better job than their engineers, but just have a look at the slow interface they made, and you will get my point..

To tell you the truth I anticipated this when Google first launched it.

"See my comments in RED" still rocks.

oh no but at least I can cross checkout google wave in detail from my todo......


long live the Wave.

the time is right for a New Wave startup

The idea is excellent, the fail is the lack of 'product'. They should distribute Wave modules that every wordpress or phpbb user can install on their blogs and hook into their own communities... and then Wave will take off.

To me, the big problem was indeed the lack of a product. I have tried Google Wave and I don't know what "product" they're talking about. It seemed to be an interesting technological experiment but I wouldn't be able to tell you what it's for, what problem it solves, or anything besides the fact that technologically, it was interesting.

In fact, I'm kind of surprised that they're killing it, because it felt like a first step with the technology part, with an upcoming second step where they would use said technology. I'm surprised that that was it. I would have expected Google to have plans beyond what Wave is today.

Crap. How can I host my own?

yet another hint that google have seen its better days..

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