Was it a social network or a collaboration tool on steroids? Nobody could quite agree, and it’s one reason for the demise of Google Wave.
The company is disappointed with the user adoption and has announced it will discontinue developing Wave as a stand-alone product.
Google Wave was largely an Australian developed product. Google will maintain the service through the end of the year and will roll the technology into other projects, according to senior vice-president for operations, Urs Hölzle.
Jonathan Yarmis, a senior research fellow with analyst Ovum, said Wave’s strength — its lack of definition — was also its greatest weakness as you could do any of the things incorporated into Wave in other, more accessible, fashions.
“The ongoing growth of things like Facebook and Twitter probably killed Wave, as conversations that might have taken place there instead migrated to either a social platform – Facebook - or a more conversational tool - Twitter”, said New York-based Yarmis.
“Even Google Buzz played a role in Wave's death as the two were somewhat similarly targeted but Buzz, being more Twitter-like, was easier to understand and embrace.”
Ovum went so far as to call Google a 'one trick pony', referring to the company’s dominance in search and advertising.
“Everything else is merely distraction, or survives in its ability to feed the advertising beast, which represents 98 per cent of Google's revenue. Of course, fortunately for Google, that one trick is a really good trick.”
The analyst thinks Wave may be reincarnated in very different fashion if Google launches its rumoured Facebook competitor.
“If and when Google introduces its platform — and really, it's just a question of when — this would have obsoleted Wave anyhow,” Yarmis said. “This way they just put a bullet in it now, so when they introduce the next platform, the focus isn't on how this co-exists with Wave or what this means for Wave or anything like that. Wave is gone, will be quickly forgotten and when Google does the next thing, for the most part no one will focus on Wave.”