Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Death of the Wave

...I wrote earlier about how I thought that Google Wave would be a communication model of the future. Clearly now I will have to eat my words.  For that reason alone, perhaps this would be an entertaining article. (Also interesting, is to note that I was not alone in my enthusiasm for the emerging communication platform.)

Or you may be a bit curious about why I've taken so long to acknowledge something that is not particularly fresh news.

In either case, this is a good time to consider what happened to Wave and what we might learn from it.
Sometime during the summer, while you were planning your trip to Disneyland or Burning Man (depending upon your particular predisposition), Google reversed course on an initiative that they said would revolutionize communications.

What makes this interesting to me is that I believed them. I firmly believe that if we'd had enough time for the innovation to mature, we'd have seen a form of liberation from the terrible things we misuse email for today.

In a way, Wave brought together the possibility for collaboration that we saw by cobbling Instant Messaging, with Google Docs, with email, with Twitter, and throwing in a web applications platform.  I could imagine a vital development community springing up around the platform to deliver new and amazing things for us to use in our workplace and communities.

So it's gone. And I was wrong.

Perhaps all is not lost.  Google says that it will open a lot of the underlying source code for developers to use, and that it will assist Wave early advocates in retrieving their data from this particular fragile part of the cloud.  Possibly a business (or more than one) can arise in taking up the slack that will be left by this uncharacteristic retreat on the part of Google.

And the likely outcome is that Google will take much of what it developed for Wave and apply it to other technologies that have a high adoption rate already.