Friday, 6 August 2010

Google Wave stopped - why didn't it work?

Google is abandoning its much-hyped Google Wave service after launching it just a year ago - but with a lack of any integration with Google's other services, it's not hard to see why Wave failed.

In their own words Google Wave was a “web app for real-time communication and collaboration”.

It promised to be a new way of emailing and sharing online content, all within your normal web browser.

When it launched people – including myself – went mad for invites to try the project out before it went live for everyone.

It soon became clear though that Wave just wasn’t catching on, and in a statement earlier this week Google announced they were stopping developing Wave as a standalone product and would be likely to switch off the site next year.

But why hasn’t Google Wave worked out?

Well, I don’t think the fault of Google Wave is that the product itself wasn’t very good. The problem was Goolge. And as a die-hard Google-fan that hurts to say.

Google just didn’t seem to offer Wave the support it needed.

For starters, I always found it difficult to actually find Google Wave - let alone use it.

There wasn’t a clear link to it from Gmail or iGoogle, I could never remember whether it was wave.google.co.uk, wave.google.com or whatever and it was never flagged-up on Google’s other services.

This made the whole thing seem a very separate or “standalone product”, which I think really was the main problem with Wave.

It desperately needed some kind of obvious integration with Google’s other services such as Gmail or Google Docs.

Google Wave had some incredible features, many of them ahead of their time - it could do just about anything and be used for just about anything.

Of course this meant it was quite complicated to use – even for geeks – and with no familiar starting point, such as email, it was just seemed too daunting to for everyday use.

To become a success, the main fetures of Google Wave should have been slowly integrated into Google services the majority of users were already used to, such as email.

Instead, Google threw them all together in one complicated, alien-looking product.

Perhaps if Google had used a more inclusive yet informal approach to introducing people to Wave it really could have taken over email – almost with people noticing they were Waving.

I do expect this is the way Google will now be going with the best parts of Wave and I’m sure they will (thankfully) never stop thinking big or trying to push the boundaries.

However, I do hope they remember that not everyone that uses the internet is a geek and it’s often worth remembering the adage “keep it simple” when trying to completely change people’s habits.

1 comment:

Hylic said...

use google+ now