When Google announced a new online, real-time, collaboration tool called Wave last May, all my geek friends got very excited. Wave, they told me, was the future. Email, I was assured, was dead. Wave was going to bring the functionality of email, instant messaging and wiki-linking all together in one "supertool". It was going to change everything we ever did.
A mere fifteen months down the line and email, it would seem, is still with us and Google are preparing to put Wave out to pasture at the end of the year. So what went wrong?
The brainchild of Google Australia's Lars Rasmussen, Wave was (is) a fantastic idea. The philosophy behind its conception was truly inspiring – one simple question – "What would email be like if it were invented today and not forty years ago?" The answer thought Lars, was Wave, a tool that could translate conversations as you had them, where people could chip in where and when they liked and where you could drag and drop files from your desktop directly into the stream. All remarkable stuff. So, really, what did go wrong?
Google claim that they are dropping the platform because it hasn't been adopted on the scale they had hoped for but neither had Linux one year after its birth and where would we be without that today? The truth it would seem is that like anything truly useful, Google's Wave takes a little effort to come to grips with, not much, but Google may have misjudged the public's aversion to learning curves, however slight. Many people these days seem to prefer clean simple interfaces like Facebook's over actual functionality and although I do think Google could have done more to make Wave a little cuddlier, I really think its sad that they are planning to shelve it.
Thankfully I'm not the only one to think its a shame. In fact there are loads of us and some are getting proactive. A website called savegooglewave is lobbying Google directly and has been grabbing a lot of attention with well orchestrated Twitter and Facebook campaigns plus a fast growing petition with over 20,000 signatures in its first week.
Several big companies such as Novell and Lotus have incorporated Wave into their services, and here at AndroidHeadlines.com we use it all the time for swapping jokes disseminating and keeping track of the information we bring to you.
We say back the campaign to Save The Wave, if you haven't tried it already, give it a go. It takes about ten minutes to learn and its a far better way of organizing something like a party or reunion than Facebook.
Who knows? If there are enough of us maybe even a company the size of Google might listen. "Democracy on the web works". Now who said that? Oh yeah… they did!