As most are aware, Google Wave was a very hyped, invitation-only application that was supposed to revolutionize they way we collaboratively work. Across the web, people begged for invitations to try Google Wave like they were tickets to the latest rock concert. And yet, it was in beta, invitation-only mode for more time than it was open to the general public to try. As anyone who became sold on Google Wave will tell you, it needed more time for it to catch on, be understood, tried and adopted for the great tool it is.
"Across the web, people begged for invitations to try Google Wave like they were tickets to the latest rock concert."
After getting my own invitation, and trying Google Wave on a few projects such as producing Specialty Insider Magazine (detailed here), I excitedly exclaimed, "Google Wave: It's Going To Be A Brave, New, Communication World". Google Wave was an application that solved many of the collaboration problems one finds with email. Email is slow, it's sloppy, it's terrible for sharing big files, documents and photos. It's hard to keep things together in one stream. It does not lend itself to embedding and showing digital files. Readers of this blog will remember all of the email limitations I cited before in, "New Collaboration Tools For The Post-Email Age". Email just doesn't get it anymore. Google Wave did all of the things email can't do and so much more. And with robots and gadgets, it seemed it would just keep evolving and getting better.
There were many people who used and understood Google Wave and while acknowledging it needed a bit more development, knew this was a game changer. It is hard to believe that such a powerful useful too will be abandoned completely. I have to believe that Google Wave functionality such as embedding, translation, video conferencing, real time as you type collaboration will find its way into other Google products such as Google Docs, Gmail, Google Talk, etc. I would not at all be surprised to see a more user-friendly version with a different name being reintroduced as a social media application, for instance. I would hope that others who also saw the potential might create a similar product.
With Google Wave attracting so much attention to the problem of easy collaboration, and having had so many influencers successfully use it collaboratively and see its potential; it seems if nothing else that it has thrown a spotlight on the limitations and problems with email that demand better solutions. I maintain that Google Wave was a success in creating a working, better collaborative tool and creating discussion on the topic. I also believe strongly that we have not seen the end of Google Wave, just the infancy in an evolution towards a more consumer acceptable, collaboration product. Until that happens, unfortunately, it might be back to email for now, with all its frustrations and limitations.