Wave Goodbye to Google Wave


When Google Wave made its introduction at Google I/O in May 2009, Google made it clear that they had a vision – a new age of online asynchronous collaboration – and they weren’t going to sit by and let their brains rest on it. They went to town on the product and amazed thousands of developers and even more onlookers as they demonstrated the potential of the platform and just how cool it could be once developers caught on.

Unfortunately, that last part never happened. Google yesterday announced the suspension of any further development (on their part) on Google Wave citing lack of user adoption. We saw a few big players pick up on Wave and all of the benefits it proved to bring to an enterprise – Novell being one of them – but no one else saw the need to make a ruckus over it. Google’s initial stance on relying on developers to push the platform forward backfired as developers quickly forgot about Wave and Google did nothing themselves to supplement the lack of progress.


Google promised great support for HTML5-based versions of Wave for use on today’s advanced smartphones, and even expressed interest on getting native options going for their (and our) beloved Android. That never came to fruition as they still had to focus on getting their full web offering accepted by the net’s technical majority.

Some would venture to claim that it’s not Google’s fault, though: users just may truly be afraid of change. There was a time – right when invites for Wave started going out – that everyone and their cat wanted one: you couldn’t go an hour without someone asking you how did you get Wave and if you had any invites to spare. Most users were just boarding a hype train, though, as their only interest stemmed from those of their friends. Most were faced with confusion and needlessness as they gleefully accepted their invite. “What does this do? What can we use it for? What’s so different about this compared to traditional collaboration methods such as chat and email? Is this like Twitter for Google?” (I actually had a friend ask me that once. Sad thing is, it definitely could’ve been a “Twitter for Google” thanks to how extensible Wave is.)


Thus, the ball began to fall. While many have posted success stories thanks to Google Wave – the age old “college group needing to finish a last minute paper or project” keeps popping up – most can’t say they ever found a need to log back in. Google’s suspending development on their own side, but source code is still being offered for anyone who still wants to use Wave and maintain their own installations (and the core Wave site will be intact for the remainder of the year).

Google’s always been the one company that knew how to admit defeat in their affairs, so we applaud them in bowing out quietly as they move on to try and push the web even further than they already have. Goodbye, Wave.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. It is googles fault for not allowing people to join from the get go. Both times I tried to catch the ‘wave’ it was closed to new users or required a special invite, of course I and many others forgot about it.

  2. i hope they integrate this into gmail in the future. google wave was defiantly great idea. but the idea of creating another account over our primary account was a hassle and plus not many of friends could get invites.

  3. It’s a real shame. The real-time multi-user apps supported by wave have a great future. We have a Google Wave travel-planner called “Travel WithMe”,
    and people love the real-time experience.

    Sensing that wave might not be going places, we’ve put it on facebook now as well, but still with Google Wave’s realtime features. It’s at apps.facebook.com/travel-withme.

  4. OUTSTANDING IDEA!!!! Their problem was a piss poor migration plan. You’re talking about replacing email as we know it without giving people any sort of bridge. I almost guarantee that had they eased people into it by either bridging Gmail or adding features to Gmail people would have loved it. I can’t express how bad I want this type of system to replace corporate email. You could cut confusion in email chains down to zero instantly. But when you present it chicken and egg fashion you’re never going to get it to take off. I really hope they aren’t just doing lip service and they integrate this into Gmail. I also hope that since this is open source the open source community forges on with it and hopefully makes something out of the technology. When it first came out I started building a basic server just for the experience and saw many others doing the same. I hope they have continued on.

  5. It needed a task system if they really wanted people to collaborate ;)

  6. I requested an invite to Wave and never received it. What was Google’s reasoning behind limiting access to the service?

  7. Awww crap? Really? This isn’t some August fools joke or something?

    I use Wave every single day for my work and have become heavily dependent on because: “Google never stops supporting their services!”

    Anybody have a complaint email? I gotta stop this.

  8. You’re not missing out on anything. I got an early invite from my cousin who is an employee, I registered and logged it and haven’t touched it since.

  9. I never understand what is Google wave is. Is it a game or file sharing software?

  10. I applaud google for giving up rather than dragging a dead project out for years.

  11. Sorry but I tried wave but never used it. Good riddance, it probably needed to die….

  12. So… can I finally get a frickin’ invite? Christ.

    If they had simply put 2 links on their homepage:

    “Try Google Wave Beta! Sign up today!”


    “Cool stuff to do with Google Wave”

    this would have turned out quite differently. Maybe the problem was that there wasn’t enough cool stuff, I guess. I was under the impression that it was a more robust version of Google Docs, which makes me wonder why they didn’t just pimp out Docs in the first place. Maybe that’s the plan and Google Wave is kinda like a software version of the Nexus One…

  13. @Phil I totally agree, I wanted to migrate over but the problem is, you couldn’t even send an email using wave until just recently. All google had to do was enable wave to be backward compatible with email and it would’ve been a slam dunk! I still think it’s not too late, honestly I think they should replace gmail with wave and make it 100% compatible with email, then, problem solved :-)

    I just wish google would hop on board and do it so that wave doesn’t die :-(

  14. I remember when a bunch of developers where I work started talking about google wave. I never really understood how it was supposed to make things better. Email and IM have hade wide adoption and understanding for decades. Wave only served to complicate and blur those products. I remember predicting that this was fad software. I won’t miss it. Now if only twitter and facebook would go die.

  15. @15 solid

    “Now if only twitter and facebook would go die.”

    That’s a completely stupid and pointless thing to wish for.

  16. I thought Google Wave would be a great subsitute for Message Boards… If Google pushed that part of it.. instead of trying to be everything at once… I think it would succeed..

  17. Wave tried to do too much to the point that it made it too hard to do anything. That was the root.

    “Waves” looked like emails … and even showed up in an an inbox like an email, but within the wave it worked more like a forum post… except it could have extensions so you could put other stuff in there like a shared doc or something … mind you if you were new to wave there was no way you were going to figure out how….

    …. in the end it was a massive recreation of what was already out there crammed into an interface that tried to hard to look like a friendly email program that instead made the entire system un-wieldy.

    The best parts have already been pulled into gmail … and thats likely where the remainder of the dev. will go if any other parts live beyond this point.

    Sorry Google, this was one concept I couldn’t get behind.

  18. Sadly it could do many cool things but like the Ipad had no real world function.

  19. I really liked Wave but the probably was the lack of others using it. If it would have been open from day one it might have had more success. Personally I wish they had this when I was in college because it would have made group projects so much easier. I hope they don’t abandoned Wave completely because it still has a ton of uses. An Android App would have helped as well…though you can Wave through the browser.

  20. This was a great idea but I blame Google for not explaining what this could do to the masses. Ask the average Joe and they have no clue what this was all about. Great idea but bad implementation by Google.

  21. Invites were not the issue. I had a boatload of ’em. The issue was that no one bothered to foster “community” in Wave. That “if we build it they will come” only goes so far and then the community drives it. This is the success of MySpace, Twitter and Facebook. Wave never had that.

    The developers made a toy with a steep learning curve and left us to our own devices. Most people got bored with it by month two. There were tons of things to do but no one to do them with at first and later when the invites started coming, nobody cared.

    My concern is this: They got everyone all excited about the Nexus One and then abandoned it. They got people excited about “The Wave” and then abandoned it. Then of course there’s Buzz… I thought they were all great ideas with tremendous potential to integrate apps – They would be like the Microsoft Office of the Internet, LOL. I just think that they didn’t get the memo that Social Networking is first of all…Social.

  22. if they integrated gmail in there somehow, that would be a big dealbreaker. other than that, it’s just a new inbox account :(

  23. I agree with many of the other commenters: great idea, poor rollout strategy. I wanted to use this as a replacement for Tangler, which is a real-time chat forum I use privately with a group of friends. It would have worked brilliantly, except for the fact that half of them couldn’t get on because of the invites issue, and when they could, the new user IDs that weren’t properly integrated with normal Google contacts meant that adding them to Waves was a huge trial. Plus group functionality was extremely poor… Such a shame!

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