Why did Google Wave fail?

Google announced today through their blog that they would be discontinuing the Google Wave service that had launched last year.  I wrote a blog post awhile back about Google Wave after the product had launched.  Upon reading that article again I feel in my initial assessment of the service is what ultimately undid the service.

Google Wave was too closed for its own good.  I found that unlike Facebook, Twitter or any other social media services out there it never made itself known via email notifications.  There was never an official Google Wave app for iPhone or Android to send nice push notifications of what was going on with Wave.  I know there were some 3rd party solutions, but I doubt Wave meant enough to people to actually shell out money for it.  It seems most services nowadays cross pollinate using RSS or using APIs to be able to port data from one service to another.

I found in my own experience that I actually understood what Google Wave could do for me as a communication method, it was just very difficult to actually get people to use it.  I find that once a project you are working exceeds 2 people then email definitely becomes a little cumbersome to keep track of.  I tried on a couple occasions to get some clients that worked with on a regular basis to give it a go but could never seem to get people to use it simply because of logistics.  It wasn’t easy to just sign up and get down to business.

The biggest misstep I think Google made was the fact that Wave wasn’t part of the Google Apps product line right away.  If this were a product that integrated into Gmail in the same way you could get Calendars or GTalk to mesh in with the email experience they could have had a winner.   I could easily share stuff via Google Docs as a collaboration tool, but couldn’t easily do the same with Wave.  The fact that it really integrated with nothing when it launched was pretty much its death blow.

What I figure is many of the features that were in Wave will make their way into Google’s other apps, primarily Gmail.  Google definitely had some ideas that were work pursuing with Wave, they just made it too inaccessible to the masses to truly be adopted as a new way of communicating.

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