Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wave Goodbye

First thing this morning  I found this email in my inbox. It came as no surprise. As the note indicates Google Wave has been on its way out for some time. It was an interesting but failed experiment in a new and quite novel way to interact. Launched in May 2009, with great fanfare, Google Wave was going to revolutionize collaboration.

Being a Google fan it was immediately of interest to me. I set about obtaining the much coveted invitation for a beta account.  I jumped into it as soon as the invite arrived. The interface was intuitive but a little confusing. At first I tried using it like email. Then thought we could develop documentation with it. Finally, I thought we could use this to manage and coordinate projects. Of course this would mean getting a handful of other people involved.

Dear Wavers,

More than a year ago we announced that Google Wave would no longer be developed as a separate product. Back in November 2011, we shared the specific dates for ending this maintenance period and shutting down Wave. Google Wave is now in read-only mode. This is reminder that the Wave service will be turned off on April 30, 2012. You will be able to continue exporting individual waves using the existing PDF export feature until the Google Wave service is turned off. We encourage you to export any important data before April 30, 2012.

If you would like to continue using Wave, there are a number of open source projects, including Apache Wave. There is also an open source project called Walkaround that includes an experimental feature that lets you import all your Waves from Google. This feature will also work until the Wave service is turned off on April 30, 2012.

For more details, please see our help center.
Yours sincerely,

The Wave Team

Working with a couple of other brave souls, we tried valiantly to figure out what the heck it was. A mash-up of instant messenger, email and shared documents with multiple threads like a discussion forum made it incredibly powerful, innovative and confusing. It was an exciting and elegant solution desperately in search of a problem to solve.We explored all the ideas I mentioned above.

After a few feeble attempts to interact using this platform, my colleagues and I decided it was too radical to adopt for any purpose and we gave up. Most people believe among the reasons for its failure was simply too much too soon. It was significantly ahead of its time and more than people could accept, digest and fully understand.

Perhaps some learning and a little bit of new technology was derived from this experiment. Not all ideas are going to be home runs. Some will roll in with a big splash, crash on the rocks and then quietly wash back out to sea.

Captain Joe

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