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August 4, 2010

Google Wave to Be Discontinued

Google's blog announced that Google Wave, the innovative communication platform released last year, will be discontinued.

"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. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave's innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began."

Google Wave has a lot of interesting features, but the interface is confusing and difficult to use. While many thought that Google Wave will reinvent email, Google's service combined an online document editor with an instant messenger. Google Wave allows you to create "live" documents that are edited collaboratively in real-time, but it's more than a conversational version of Google Docs. It's based on an open protocol, so you can edit a wave using multiple services. It's extensible, so you can build gadgets and robots that add new functionality.

Google Wave had a lot of potential, but Google didn't manage to build a compelling user experience and define some use cases for the application. Instead of building a general-purpose interface for Google Wave, Google could've used the platform to create multiple applications with clearly-defined goals: a new version of Google Chat, a new version of Google Docs, a brainstorming app etc.

Now that Google Wave is discontinued, some of its feature will be added to other Google services (Gmail, Google Docs), but the platform will vanish. It's clear that Google doesn't want to invest in niche services, which is a big opportunity for startups. "We want to do things that matter to a large number of people at scale," said Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, in an interview.

59 comments:

  1. I couldnt get one person to Wave with me.

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  2. If they'd ever integrated it with other services -- Gmail, AIM, for instance -- I think more people would've adopted it. I know that I would have loved to have managed my instant messaging contacts through Wave rather than the very stark Gmail Chat.

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  3. They didn't kill it today. It was still born on release. The cause of death: Lack of backwards compatibility with e-mail. If it had that one single feature, it would have been awesome. It really would have been e-mail 2.0.

    But, it didn't support e-mail. The lack of that single feature took the product from revolutionary to useless.

    No one will use it if there is no one to use it with. Such a shame. It was really pretty amazing technology. Lets hope it finds it's way into GMail soon.

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  4. 1. This is too bad. Will the non-OSS web-interface be released to the OSS world? (rhetorical)

    2. The article illustrates exactly why I didn't make real use of it: couldn't find a use-case scenario which was not already met by other channels.

    3. It held a lot of potential. Why, I wonder, was the protocol/API not adopted by a big social site such as Myspace, Facebook or Ning? (also rhetorical)

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  5. Sucks =( I will miss it!! It's a great tool!!! People is just lazy to learn =(

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  6. Wave would have been a spectacular success if, from the get-go, they had included other communication and consumption protocols within it. E-mail, IM, RSS, IRC, various Google services.... All within the Wave interface, all implemented as legacy versions of the things Wave does naturally. Get used to using Wave to do everything you already do, and it's so much easier to start doing the things that can't be done elsewhere.

    It would have helped had they slimmed down the interface a bit. I would have killed for a native client.

    Well, Google finished all the heavy lifting by programming the backend. I give it a few days for some brave open-source hero to start a project to establish what it needs. Then again, if they haven't done it already....

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  7. google buzz killed google wave.

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  8. I wonder what's going to happen to the two companies that decided to use Google Wave?

    Google Wave adoption outside of Google [Wikipedia]

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  9. It's just too much to ask users to adopt a completely new system, and having to check (another) new email in essence- if this was a 'lab' feature in gmail that users can experiment within their gmail account then the adoption rate might have been a bit higher?

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  10. They should give it more time.
    It's something completely different which takes time to get accustomed to.

    Moreover they have just started polishing it to be fast and solid enough.

    Too Bad...

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  11. I'll wave bye bye to it fairly happily. Integration into Google Docs etc is the sensible way to go, eg: live character typing through Gmails talk gadget maybe?

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  12. Too bad..
    So sad to see it go, as it is a unique tool for real-time team collaboration...

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  13. I dont think they should discontinue it, there is still lots of dev make good thing everyday. Let it evolve slowly..

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  14. Too much clutter for ordinary users; It's hard to get past the visual confusion; should be more gmailish; an inbox with a list of waves; i don't understand why google invests so much time with innovation then fails to make those innovations user friendly with a familiar feeling. doesn't make sense. this is a company at odds with itself.

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  15. Yeah, a friend of mine back home in Seattle (I now live in Minneapolis) "waved" each other perhaps two or three times, thought it was a cool idea that might have more use in the business world moreso than "the average, everyday internet junkie". Applying it in some way to Google Chat would be genius. Kinda sad to hear it didn't work out like they wanted it to but... oh well.

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  16. This is the most stupid decision Google has made. What do they mean by slow adoption? It is a young product which was invite-only for a loooong time. Give it more time. They are killing it before it could unleash its full power in the enterprise. Every single day at work, caught in email hell, with a geographically dispersed team exchanging hundreds of emails, I have wished to use Google Wave at work! Come on, Google. Don't do this.

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  17. A real pity, we've been using quite a bit within family to plan all kinds of things, from shopping lists to construction project planning. Of course it was far from perfect, with several shortcomings (such as the inability to easily re-arrange a wave-"document"), but with a bit of discipline, it still it worked pretty well in practise.

    Wave would find much wider use if it were integrated with chat and gmail, so that waves would show in gmail inbox, and so that chats would actually be waves with many features disabled.

    Oh well, I think there are a few alternatives...

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  18. Wave was a great great idea. But the implantation process has been a mess.

    It should have been integrated in Gmail so you can wave with others or just follow an email conversation.

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  19. oh nooooooo(((( i have so much interesting work, with so interesting people in wave... and only in google wave, we so-perfectly collaborated.. so sad((((

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  20. I've been using Wave a lot lately and it's become pretty damn good. Haven't found it useful for personal things but for business ideas and collaboration, it's been brilliant!

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  21. To understand why it hasn't worked one just has to read the previous comments here. None of the posters understands the true potential Wave had (perhaps still has).

    Wave was never opened to the public. Google Wave was never opened for federation. Despite advertising Wave as an open protocol Google never opened it for federation, and gave no real chance for anyone else to develop a wave client. The only available Wave client was Google's own quite limited web application.

    Google Wave was and still is a "closed garden". Not an open protocol. Making the source of some limited features of a web application doesn't make a protocol "open", and does nothing to push forward the adoption of a protocol. The only way the Wave protocol could have gained adoption is by opening the Google Wave servers for federation and allowing others to both develop and use alternative clients and servers, and then wait several years while continuing development. Google never let this happen.

    It's a pity. The concept was great. It was never realized. Google never really opened Wave to the public.

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  22. Add Wave features to Gmail. Gmail is the most effective platform

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  23. Bring back EtherPad!

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  24. I wish the Wave Protocol still alive forever!

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  25. It's a real shame. The real-time multi-user apps supported by wave have a great future. We have a Google Wave travel-planner called "Travel WithMe",
    and people love the real-time experience.

    Sensing that wave might not be going places, we've put it on facebook now as well, but still with Google Wave's realtime features. It's at apps.facebook.com/travel-withme.

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  26. I do NOT believe this article.

    If they plan to remove it. They MUST make announcement via email and on wave.

    So I guess this Article is part of "Google Boycott" as who want to destroy Google's popular....

    Hey Google Boycott, do me a favor...LEAVE US ALONE! YOU GET LOST!

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  27. Dear Urs,

    How come why you never make announcement on Google Wave? I have a idea for you. Why doesn't these people take Google Wave Course so they can learn how to use Google Wave?

    I already have many project on Wave and why are you going to waste my time for post my project on Wave?

    By the way Urs, you better think again. If you plan to close wave, you are wasting our project for nothing! I want you to leave Wave stay running and give it a time to grow.

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  28. not suprised, it only took off in small and few between circles..buzz is more practical at what wave's essential functionality was providing..

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  29. We thought Wave had some cool technology and expected to integrate with Wave at some point in the future.

    If you are looking to replace Wave, WizeHive is a great collaboration and project management tool.

    We have been reviewed and used by TechCrunch and in various other publications. We offer groups of people the ability to collaborate on ideas, files and other information and we have a very powerful project management and task management system.

    We are also running a WaveGoodBye promotion where you can get WizeHive for free. We also have upgraded versions that allow you to run online contests and other business processes.

    Come check out our WizeHive Blog for details.

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  30. As an off and on user, I thought it was a brilliant idea, but way ahead of current technological capabilities. I'm glad Google's 'failed' the product fairly fast, there's really nothing wrong with that if the expectation was high usage and adoption. It's just too clunky and crowded for that in this avatar. Failing it now just makes way for the new avatar... whenever and by whomever. Thanks Google for sharing an exciting prototype. My friends and I had fun using it.

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  31. I really liked Wave, but what good is a communications tool if only a handful of guy's are using it and Facebook is where the party is at.

    Wave was a great idea, but a difficult product to use and it would never have made it to mainstream.

    However I don't think we have seen the last of the technology behind Wave. Either it will reappear as part of existing products or as a new social / communications tool.

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  32. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

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  33. It is a shame, i really liked Google Wave. I think it was a great application which was far superior too the old email.

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  34. Do you know how to recognize true pioneers? They're the ones with arrows in the back, face down in the mud.

    You done good, Team Wave. Damn good. Don't doubt that for even one second. The protocol is what matters, that's what will live on, you're on the right side of history. Wait, no, you helped CREATE the right side of history.

    http://j.mp/ProtocolvsEmpire

    Onward!

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  35. Next up, Google Buzz. You know, that annoying line on your gmail screen that you never click on.

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  36. What? Seriously, this is in my humble opinion the worst decision Google has ever made!

    1) Wave is a really great and versatile tool. I know no other one-place-to-have-it-all like wave. Sure, the interface hadn't been sufficiently developed yet to deal with the massive information flow, but that's fixable! We use wave a lot in our research group, and it's really great: We primarily use it for meeting notes and making general/brainstorming notes, which we can then invite the others to comment on - it kinda bridges the gap between email and Docs.

    2) Yes, wave has not have been adopted by the masses yet, but which idiot ever imagined THAT? I've always believed that it would take 5-10 years, not months, before wave would be used by the general public userbase and not just geeks and scientists. I also agree with the previous comments here that adoption would require all components of google wave to be open, so that third parties could contribute to the adoption process. In the end (15-20 years from now...), I think the wave protocol could become a standard communication protocol used by almost all major communications providers. Just imagine the day when facebook scrapped their crappy chat/messaging system and adopted something like wave. (Not the userface, but the protocol). Talk about mass adoption...

    3) What's up with Google abandoning all it's great note-taking tools? First google notebook and now google wave? I really don't want to create a new google document for every note I need to write down! Now, I'll probably have to go back to either Evernote or M$ OneNote.

    4) Finally, Google is really going to piss a LOT of people off with this decision. Just imagine all the developers who has spent a lot of time developing wave extensions (robots and gadgets)! And companies who has already seen the light and are now developing to the wave protocol. Not to speak of users like myself who has spent the last year writing notes in google wave!

    Especially the last point has made me think about whether or not I even want to "Go Google".
    And I could imagine that a lot of developers and companies are also thinking this. If all their efforts could be blown away with a single, short-sighted, decision from a Google CEO, then Google will probably do this again another time over.
    - If I was a developer, I would think carefully before starting developing for any Google platform and probably opt for something a little more safe. (MS, Facebook, Atlassian, etc, etc - or just develop my own platform...)

    Again: Stupid, short-sighted decision!

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  37. I don't like Google's Sluggish marketing team!!!! Because they don't want to move their butt forward, Google starts to shut down great product/services. This is the second one in this month. First was Lovely NexusOne which is by far is the best phone in the market! And now Wave. God knows! maybe this attitude some day kills Google Search too!

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  38. Big disappointment. Over the last few months, my team of Telecommuters has come to rely on Google Wave. We love it and it has been a great communications tool for us -- we sometimes joked that it seemed to have been built just for us. Apparently it was since enough other people didn't use it for it to remain viable.

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  39. This is a disappointment, we have virtual employees and google wave was a great way to communicate about where accounts stood and what needed to be done.

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  40. what a shame, i did not expect this at all. sometimes innovation just can't be idiot friendly.

    this needed a lot more time and open registration to really be tested, this cancellation seems very premature.

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  41. I must say that I also was excited - especially after than 2h video from the dev conference they produced. I signed up for it and got an invite. I found about seven of my friends and colleagues were on. I exchanged waves with maybe two of them more regularly, but more because it was cool than because of its usefullness.
    The problem was that I did not get notifications of new waves in any way, other than opening the platform itself. Logically, after learning that opening my Wave brings me no "social pleasure" 90% of the time, I kind of ceased to visit. There were so many other ways to communicate more satisfactorily...

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  42. I'de agree with Lorne on that one, lack of "social pleasure" killed Wave for me. Also, i agree with the many others that it's simply too soon to kill of this project, hopefully it will make way for wave 2.0

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  43. All they had to do was connect it with facebook. End of story.

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  44. Google Wave was often annoyingly slow making it nearly unusable.

    If the performance issue was not intrinsic, one of the things Google could have done to fix Wave was to give it adequate hardware and bandwidth to achieve some sort of decent performance.

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  45. I think Google should focus on Buzz and new things if they really want to get Wave retired :-)

    Tinh from AZBlogTips.com

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  46. lol briscoe.
    Sad I knew a few people invested in this as developers. ;-/

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  47. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

    Me and my friends USE AND LOVE WAVE! We use it to talk back and forth about the MMO we're making, we have found no other client that us as AWESOME AND USEFUL AS WAVE!

    PLEASE KEEP IT! !!! !! ! ! ! !

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  48. New service may better.Hope they come soon

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  49. Absolute stupid to discontinue this. The idea if fantastic, and the only reason they failed to get user on board was the ill-implemented invitation system. I was unable to invite the necessary number of people and only now I realised I can invite more. They should give the project another year. PLEASE keep it!

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  50. I feel really sad that Google decided to discontinue Wave development. I was waiting to get the wave package, so that I can replace the hypermail package that installed on our solaris host.

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  51. I dont think they should discontinue it, there is still lots of dev make good thing everyday. Let it evolve slowly..

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  52. nooooo, i love google wave. my friends and me use it as a virtual office for multiple business and private purposes. please, please, don't discontinue!!!!!!!!

    yd

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  53. on the contrary me and my coworkers are very satisfied and happy using wave. we have gained time by communicating though wave we get notifications online on our smartphones etc.

    we invite other users outside gmail also upload archives and share infos....

    it really sad they shut it down..would have benn a revolutianary CRM

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  54. It is a big error to discontinue wave. The technology has great potential and was working very well while still in development. The reason why it wasn't adopted is that it needs to be integrated in some existing product as an extension. You have integrated other technologies in it through gadgets but what is needed is the reverse too as wave space it's too dispersive and restrictive to manage an exponential grouth of google wave users base. Keeping alive while would realize a new wave of technologies where human and computers really interact each other and computers exploits in new ways a human friendly interaction with great potential for AI integration in such flows of informations.

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  55. Wave has many concepts that can change things big time. I agree with most of the posts here. Don't leave it as a standalone produce - integrate it with other products, especially gmail and docs. I think the potential for collaboration is immense. Most innovations I've seen are just modifications of the same idea, but Wave presented something new, I think, that could change how collaborative projects are done. Please, Google, if you kill wave as a standalone keep it going as an add on for other products.

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  56. Being an on / off user, I believed it was an excellent idea, but way in front of current technological abilities. I am glad Google's 'failed' the merchandise fairly fast, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this when the expectation was high usage and adoption. It is simply too cumbersome and crowded for your within this avatar. Failing it now just makes method for the brand new avatar... whenever by whoever. Thanks Google for discussing a thrilling prototype. My buddies and that i had fun utilizing it.

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  57. I almost agree with you and have learned something here.
    I absolutely agree with this. I did some freelance web design for a while and it was very frustrating to run into clients who would tell you how amazing something was and then want you to change a bunch of things and then decide that what you had originally was best. It especially sucks when you offer free changes to your clients.

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