Due to a low adoption rate, Google has decided to pull the switch on their “community collaboration” tool called Google Wave. Wave entered the scene with great intentions. It boasted such advanced features that a standard web browser had never housed before. They include character-by-character live typing, the ability to drag-and-drop files from the desktop, sharing images and other media in real time; improving spell-checking by understanding not just an individual word, but also the context of each word, and so on. Though Wave promised so much, it fell flat in executing all of these things because none of it made sense to an everyday user. Wave tried to pack too much into a jumbled user interface that was difficult to comprehend from the get-go. Here were all these new and exciting features, but one could not understand how they all meshed together and why it was so important to learn all of them. There’s Gmail, Google Calendar, Contacts, etc. My question is, why did Wave exist at all? The most appropriate step forward would have been to incorporate Wave’s features into Google’s other respective (and already wildly popular) services. With news of Wave’s anticipated death, it’s as if my prayers have been answered. Says Urs Hölzle, Google Senior Vice President:
Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.
Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web.
Google Wave, though your icky UI won’t be missed, the innovations you introduced and cultivated are welcome with open arms into the products we have come to know and use with ease.