Mid last year Google Wave was unveiled to the world, causing a lot of hype and discussion in Australia for several reasons:

  • it was developed by a talented team of Sydney-based Google developers.
  • Google Wave was a unique concept that pushed the envelope in terms of web application features.
  • it was positioned as the “next best thing since email”.

More than a year on, the dust has settled a little.

I know plenty of people who have tried Google Wave, however none of them use it regularly as part of their day-to-day routine. And it seems that Google agrees, announcing this today on the Official Google Blog:

“…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.”

Source: Official Google Blog

It is hard to pinpoint exactly why people haven’t made Google Wave a part of their daily routine, but here’s a few thoughts:

  • Google Wave was a developer (invite only) preview for almost 12 months. This meant that it was quite difficult to actually obtain a Google Wave account and begin experimenting with it. And now 3 months after opening it to the public, Google has decided that the product isn’t popular enough.
  • Google Wave attempted to push the boundaries of how people fundamentally use the web. People were given the impression that email would be no longer because people would be using Google Wave instead. Humans are creatures of habit. Some of us have been using email since the early 1970’s (not me – I wasn’t even born then!), and it takes time for people to change their habits.

Personally, I thought Google Wave was very interesting, but I struggled to find real life uses for it. I didn’t have very many friends who were using it. Apart from a few initial “this is cool” type conversations, I was happy to continue using email and Skype.

At the end of the day, even if Google Wave has failed, it has done a great job of encouraging innovation on the web – in Google’s own products such as Gmail and Google Docs, and in web applications in general.

What do you think? Did you try Google Wave? Are you still using it today? Why do you think its user adoption hasn’t met Google’s expectations? Feel free to leave a comment below.