Let's all Wave goodbye
August 4, 2010 3:48 PM   Subscribe


 
So...

What does it do again?

{/}
posted by Artw at 3:50 PM on August 4, 2010 [17 favorites]


~
posted by SNACKeR at 3:54 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a Google fanboi, but I never got Wave. They can't all be home runs, right?
posted by fixedgear at 3:54 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let's all take a moment to think about what happened here.

I have no idea what happened here.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:54 PM on August 4, 2010 [77 favorites]


But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked.

Translation: Basically no one gave a shit.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:55 PM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


I hope this means that etherpad development comes back to life.
posted by 3.2.3 at 3:55 PM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


They can dry their tears with crisp, $100 bills.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:00 PM on August 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


Every single Wave user kept waiting for every other Wave user to figure out how to make Wave useful.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:01 PM on August 4, 2010 [42 favorites]


You know, Google missed a perfect opportunity to market Wave with "That's the beauty of it; it doesn't do anything!" and really upset etymologists.
posted by Spatch at 4:02 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


What does it do again?
posted by weston at 4:02 PM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


(It's a platypus. They don't do much.)
posted by weston at 4:03 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would have loved to use Wave, but I never really got around to utilizing it. However, to just kill it like this seems cruel. It's the kind of thing that, if it had stuck around for a while could have found a niche. Some people around here talked about using it to host online role-playing games, which seems like a cool application. But since it never caught on during an arbitrary trial period, IT MUST DIE.

Google seems to do this a hell of a lot. What about that 3D virtual world thing they made some time back, whose name I don't even remember anymore? One of their test projects I loved was Google Notebook, it was great for jotting down little things that I could store someplace where I'd be sure not to lose them. I still have the Google Notebook widget on my homepage and it still seems to work, but someday, maybe someday soon, it'll probably go dark and my notes will vanish with it.

This is one of my least favorite things about Google. If it doesn't hit it big, and quickly, they flush it, making all the users who did use it feel like chumps.
posted by JHarris at 4:04 PM on August 4, 2010 [17 favorites]


"as a standalone product". I'm sure some facets of it will be incorporated into other things.
posted by boo_radley at 4:04 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was super excited when I got my Wave invite (thanks to reenum, a prince among MeFites). But I couldn't figure out what to do with it, and nobody I invited wanted to join.
posted by jeoc at 4:05 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can't say I'm that surprised, really. I do have a Wave account, but never really saw the point - character-by-character updates and editing other people's posts really weren't killer apps (or remotely useful, for that matter). The underlying idea wasn't bad, but so long as there was no way of connecting Wave to email, there was never going to be much take-up.

Now, if only Google would direct this newly-freed-up resource back into Google Notebook, a service that I actually liked and am clinging desperately to despite their insistence that it's dead, I would be much happier with them and a little more willing to overlook their slightly scary personal information handling.

(On preview, hi JHarris! I knew I wasn't the only one!)
posted by ZsigE at 4:05 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like Wave. I had a couple projects for which it made communication sufficiently efficient that there was kind of a "so... this is it?" feeling after using it.

The problem became that, I suspect. Anybody who's spent a couple hours writing a little scripty utility thingy that does, in under a second, what would have taken a half-dozen hours to do by hand can get the same feeling.

It had some arbitrary-seeming limitations that could never quite be worked around, a couple of which were dealbreakers in business situations, such as the inability to un-add a participant from a Wave. Also that it was damned hard to get anybody to try it, outside of a very small circle of curious friends and coworkers.

I'll miss it, and I wish Google had built it out further, but above all I wish I could've gotten more people interested in working with it.
posted by ardgedee at 4:08 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


What does it do again?

This was exactly the problem with Google Wave. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you can't give people a clear idea what it is in one sentence, most people won't investigate it any further.
posted by FishBike at 4:08 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


They really blew the launch of this - a closed invite-based introduction is terrible for an application that's completely useless unless you can try it out with your friends. It took me about three weeks until I got some invites after joining, and by then the initial interest was gone.

Invites worked for gmail, since you can still email people even if they're not on gmail.
posted by xiw at 4:11 PM on August 4, 2010 [43 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I got to see the First Ever Wave Troll, so my time wasn't wasted.
But aside from getting to see a live freakout in real-time, I could never figure out what to do with Wave.
posted by lekvar at 4:12 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've waving it good bye

I'm here all week, tell your friends
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:12 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wave was impressive but totally useless as a standalone platform. I don't see why they couldn't have integrated most of that stuff into gmail.
posted by resiny at 4:14 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was bold, but rootless, not organic. These kinds of toy must be used by a mass of users to be useful.
They should have integrated it into Gmail. Google chat flourished because it was built into Gmail. As a standalone product? Forget about it.
I hope its features will creep back into Gmail, Google Docs et similia.
posted by Baldons at 4:17 PM on August 4, 2010


Google Wave was their Microsoft Bob.
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:18 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


The single project I heard it used for was a couple of writers co-authoring a novel.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:19 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also previously.
posted by availablelight at 4:20 PM on August 4, 2010


And Facebook marches on. Unbelievable.
posted by phaedon at 4:20 PM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wow, and all the hype leading up to the launch of this product made it sound world-changing. Guess not.
posted by blucevalo at 4:20 PM on August 4, 2010


/scoots by on Segway.
posted by Artw at 4:21 PM on August 4, 2010 [15 favorites]


I'm also in the camp that was completely baffled they were treating it as a separate thing, instead of integrating it right into gmail as option extended whiteboarding-etc. features. That's still baffled by that, actually.
posted by Drastic at 4:21 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've been using Wave along with a group of friends to talk about video games and collaborate on blog posts since last December. It's actually a really great tool---think Etherpad with threads. If a bunch of you are online at the same time, you can have what amounts to a hierarchical IRC/AIM conversation. Your conversation leaves behind a record that other people can subsequently read, reply to, and/or edit. It's a unique way of writing and interacting with people, and I'm really sad to see it go. We're having trouble coming up with something to replace it, since all of the alternatives (IRC? web-based forum? e-mail list?) just don't have the same affordances.
posted by aparrish at 4:23 PM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ah nuts. Now how can I contact my Buzz connections to join me on Orkut?
posted by Hartster at 4:23 PM on August 4, 2010 [11 favorites]


I never liked the Wave at Fenway either. Can we get that to die off too?
posted by .kobayashi. at 4:24 PM on August 4, 2010


Good riddance. Wave offered a not-quite-as-good e-mail replacement coupled with a not-quite-as-good Google Docs replacement.

(Why did I want it to die? Because I felt it threatened Google Docs, of which I am an avid user. It's the law of the jungle.)
posted by iati at 4:24 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was totally jazzed and begged for invites, but I never figured out anything useful I could do with it. Classic example of a solution in search of a problem.
posted by unSane at 4:28 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've talked about this before with friends. What's the biggest reason behind the failure of Google Wave? Well, it's the reason that I posted about this on Buzz rather than on Wave. It wasn't at all integrated into Gmail. Even having a link on the left side of Gmail might have encouraged people to check it once in a while. As it was, I would constantly forget.

Secondly, no one knew what it was for, but it never fulfilled a function that wasn't already in Gmail. Email? Chat? There were a couple cool ideas, a few decent features, but it would have been better if these had been simply integrated into Gmail, rather than trying to make it a separate entity.

The ruddy stupid invite system was also a problem. I didn't get the first set of invites, but I got an early one. But none of my friends were on it, and by the time they might have gotten an invite, I was already sick of the thing and was back on Gmail because I couldn't talk to my friends.

I know the way that most of my friends use Gmail on a day to day basis. They have it open constantly in a tab, and use it for both email and chat. I know, I do this too. What did Wave do except be another place to talk? One that wasn't especially new or interesting.
posted by X-Himy at 4:29 PM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not really surprised by this. It never had even a hint of catching on, aside from some initial buzz when it first launched. See also: Google Buzz.

Aside from their ad products, has Google ever really created anything that's caught on? I mean, they do search and email pretty darn well but when it comes to "reinventing" the Internet, they have a rather shoddy record.
posted by dhammond at 4:31 PM on August 4, 2010


> You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you can't give people a clear idea what it is in one sentence, most people won't investigate it any further.

Yeah. That's kind of what I said when Wave was announced, but yours is more concise.
posted by ardgedee at 4:32 PM on August 4, 2010


when i finally got around to watching firefly last this spring i was like "oh... wave. like google wave. huh." and then i went back to not caring about or understanding google wave.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:34 PM on August 4, 2010


When I heard about Google Wave, I thought it might be a fantastic way to banish to eternity the unproductive collaborative chain-email office communications that I need to wade through daily.

Then I was slightly jealous that I didn't get an invite when everyone was buzzing about it.

Then I realized the GMail team had all but mitigated the pain of collaborative chain-mail correspondence with their threaded and auto-hidden wizardry.

Then I forgot about it.

Today I discovered I can finally drag files into my GMail browser instance.

GMail: A+

Wave: who?
posted by vectr at 4:35 PM on August 4, 2010


I think it's sort of noble (although noble isn't quite the word I'm looking for) of them to admit defeat. There are cool parts of Google Wave, and if at some point they build a giant, omnibus communication application I'd liike to see some of those parts make it in.

The big stumbling block is that gmail and wave never really connected in a useful way. If at some point you can offer a Google Omni account that pulls functionallity from everything, but also lets me keep some parts separate... then we'll talk.
posted by codacorolla at 4:36 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


iati: "(Why did I want it to die? Because I felt it threatened Google Docs, of which I am an avid user. It's the law of the jungle.)"

I'm pretty sure that they're going to incorporate some of the features into docs.
posted by octothorpe at 4:37 PM on August 4, 2010


They really blew the launch of this - a closed invite-based introduction is terrible for an application that's completely useless unless you can try it out with your friends.

Nthing this. I was all set to try it out in the early weeks, but it was months before I got an invite. It sucks to be excluded, and those who were included from the start had hardly anyone to use it with.
posted by JHarris at 4:38 PM on August 4, 2010


Aside from their ad products, has Google ever really created anything that's caught on?

Judging from the frustration of iOS users who can't work directly with Google Docs, I'd say Google Docs.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:39 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unlike Wave, Buzz is used pretty extensively internally. Wave never even caught on amongst most teams at Google, which was probably a good sign of things to come. (Personally I think Buzz is best suited for corporate / closed communities, and open Buzz needs a lot of work if its going to be useful).

Aside from their ad products, has Google ever really created anything that's caught on?

Well, depends on definition I think. A product, or a brand new kind of thing? I mean there are a lot of popular products (Android, Chrome, GMail, Docs, etc) but most weren't trying to be the new sort of thing Wave was.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:46 PM on August 4, 2010


dhammond - "Aside from their ad products, has Google ever really created anything that's caught on? "

That's a good question I suppose. What google does well is create the last and final version of something that I will ever want to use. Before gmail, there were a ton of various email providers including Hotmail, Yahoo, ISPs, and the like. After gmail, there was gmail and domain-level emails. And even those domain-level emails are often run through google and gmail. Sure, Yahoo email and Hotmail still exist, but who uses them? I honestly look down on someone with a Hotmail email. I judge them for using the email, and I think it's unprofessional to use it on resumes and such, as opposed to gmail. If I get an email from a Hotjobs or Yahoo or something similar, I assume it is going to be spam.

Same thing with Google Reader. When RSS was becoming a thing, I tried using some desktop readers, but lack of easy sync between multiple platforms was a problem. I used early versions of Bloglines and other online readers, but they were slow, unreliable, buggy, and just plain didn't do what I want it to do. GReader came out, and I haven't looked back, it does anything I want it to do, and plenty I don't need it to do but I am sure is useful for others (or me if I wanted to use it). It just works, and works well.

As for Gdocs, I was never a fan of the idea of online documents, until I found a use that worked for me. And I might never had done that if it wasn't for the fact of the integration with the rest of the google products. Now I live in gdocs, and my life would be poorer in both productivity and ease of life without it.

That's the thing. Maybe their versions aren't the best all the time. I'm sure there are online document services that have better featuresets, or perhaps a better interface. But the integration of all the features into one usable product is what make them so valuable to me. The one thing that's never caught on for me personally is Picasa. I just don't like putting my photos up in that way, and it's just not Flickr. I wish Google had bought Flickr, and not YouTube, it seemed backwards. Google might not always be the big innovators, but for me they create the final word in whatever it is that I want to do. And they do well in the margins of a product, adding useful and meaningful features to something that already exists. That's why I think Wave would have been successful if they had just slowly started integrating features into Gmail.
posted by X-Himy at 4:49 PM on August 4, 2010 [9 favorites]


What's Google Wave about?
It's about nothing!

Maybe by creating a product about nothing and then failing to adequately promote it doing something useful, Google has pioneered a new type of ultra-exclusive viral marketing guaranteed not to get your non-product noticed?!
posted by markkraft at 4:50 PM on August 4, 2010


It could be worse, Google Labs, you could be MS Research.
posted by Artw at 4:52 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that they're going to incorporate some of the features into docs.

Yes, but the Docs way of doing things has (temporarily) won. My POW:
Non-editable e-mail? Good.
Non-editable forums? Good.
Editable single document? Good.
Editable forums? Bad.
posted by iati at 4:52 PM on August 4, 2010


My first encounter with it was being copied on an excitable email from someone asking, "How can we incorporate Google Wave into our organization?" Yet another Web 2.0 ... function ... had veered into SHINY OBJECT MUST GRAB territory. It exists, therefore we must attempt to use it. In the collaborative sense it was somewhat orthogonal to CMSs such as SharePoint and seemed quite busy at doing a number of things not particularly well.

This land must be desert, as only the shifting sands could have claimed the recent tracks laid down by Second Life, and, to a lesser extent, RSS, on that very same trail. It leads to a cornfield, and then you hear this voice say, "If you build it, the users will ask, well, what the hell do I do with this?"

Oh, look, we'll have the site for at least another four months. And the panicked data migration begins!
posted by adipocere at 4:54 PM on August 4, 2010


Wave is a piece of middleware that was marketed by Google as though it were an end-user product. There are plenty of enterprise-y middleware packages that are "harder to understand than Google Wave," to invoke that fun little meme, but few end-user web applications that I can think of rival Wave for knee-jerk unintelligibility.
posted by killdevil at 5:04 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


It was an awesome set of API's that no one ever made a decent client for. I'm kind of sad to see it go.
posted by lumpenprole at 5:05 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


The neat idea for Wave that I saw was to run play-by-email games of Diplomacy. There was a project to work on the backend of that, but the last time I checked a few months ago, it was dead dead dead.

Other than that, I've never found a use for Google Wave. But I think we should start putting our wishlist stuff done. Here's mine:

-An actual functional tagging system for gdocs (probably in addition to the folders, and not the kludgy way they have it now). I don't understand why this is so hard. Not only is tagging one of the biggest draws of gmail, the reason it took off so much, but gdocs apparently originally had tagging before it was removed.

-A way to link documents (not spreadsheets), with tabs. Tabbed documenting would be great. That's more of an aspirational feature than a necessary one, but I can think of all sorts of instances where I would like to keep a bunch of different pieces of a document on different tabs in a single document.
posted by X-Himy at 5:10 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


To be fair, hardly anyone in the business world outside of IT professionals understands Sharepoint, or uses it anywhere close to its full, glorious capability.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:18 PM on August 4, 2010


Well shit. I just started using that to collaborate with a friend on a project. Fortunately, they're going to keep it running till the end of the year.

It's actually really useful for keeping track of mutual documents, in a way that Google docs alone doesn't seem to be able to do. But it's really laggy and annoying to work with.

I was kind of annoyed with all the hype when it launched. People were making it out to be some kind of "revolution of the web" or something. In fact, it made it impossible to understand exactly what it was good for.

But for what it actually was: A dynamic, mutual word processor, it was really great. Especially if you're collaborating with someone in your Gmail contacts. If Google had promoted it that way, it probably would have seen more adoption.

(Although I have no idea how well the interface would scale up for lots of docs, or lots and lots of users)

Hopefully we'll get better multi-user support in Google docs. Google spreadsheets let multiple people edit at once, which was really cool (and faster then wave, too)

---

So I feel a little vindicated in my opinion of the "revolutionize the web" hype that preceded the launch. And I guess I'm not too worried about losing a collaboration platform I've been using at the end of the year. Ah well.
posted by delmoi at 5:23 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was happy to wait another year or two for it to catch on, damnit. The tech was pretty awesome, and I thought it showed real promise, but was obviously going to take time to pick up a proper userbase, and without that it's going to tank. Shifting everyone to gmail wasn't a problem since it was compatible with whatever all your friends were still using, but to persuade everyone you know to go over to wave was obviously going to take longer than they seem to have given it.
My hope is they use the best bits of it in the future, when it's the right time, in the right place. Otherwise, what we got now will do.
posted by opsin at 5:33 PM on August 4, 2010


I kinda liked it, but no one in my circle of acquaintances did. I got a couple to use it once, and that was that.
posted by tommasz at 5:38 PM on August 4, 2010


Google seems to do this a hell of a lot. What about that 3D virtual world thing they made some time back, whose name I don't even remember anymore? One of their test projects I loved was Google Notebook, it was great for jotting down little things that I could store someplace where I'd be sure not to lose them. I still have the Google Notebook widget on my homepage and it still seems to work, but someday, maybe someday soon, it'll probably go dark and my notes will vanish with it.
I was going to say you could probably get your data out with google dashboard, but actually it looks like notepad (and wave) are not supported
I was super excited when I got my Wave invite (thanks to reenum, a prince among MeFites). But I couldn't figure out what to do with it, and nobody I invited wanted to join.
Wave is no-longer invite only, as far as I know. I never got an invite.

---

And speaking of "invites" -- if google had really wanted to make Wave popular. One of the built in applications should have been one of those "Social games" that gets you addicted and forces you to annoy your friends to advance that are so popular on facebook.
Aside from their ad products, has Google ever really created anything that's caught on? I mean, they do search and email pretty darn well but when it comes to "reinventing" the Internet, they have a rather shoddy record.
Docs. Reader. Android. Also, Orkut is huge in some other parts of the world (India and Brazil)

Wave was developed in Australia. I wonder if there was some professional jealousy going on, where CA based researchers and developers were kind of unhappy with this "change the web" crap and annoyed by the whole thing, resulting in a lack of support. A lot of times, big companies end up as warring fiefdoms.
posted by delmoi at 5:39 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


To be fair, hardly anyone in the business world outside of IT professionals understands Sharepoint, or uses it anywhere close to its full, glorious capability.

To be fair, hardly any IT professionals understand it either, even if they're using it. And "glorious" and Sharepoint aren't words that I often see in the same sentence.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:40 PM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Especially if you're collaborating with someone in your Gmail contacts. If Google had promoted it that way, it probably would have seen more adoption.

Strange they sent a user survey about 6 months ago and I left pretty much this exact comment. My guess is that Wave technology will be integrated into Docs and that Wave won't really die, just take a more familiar form. Most curious is that they never release the enterprise Wave federated server (or however the hell they named it), so that companies could run it privately. This seemed to be the key feature to Wave adoption.

Google seems content on throwing money at the ChromeOS project. A good bet if they can get high quality hardware out there. There might be a reason Apple keeps itself vertical.
posted by geoff. at 5:41 PM on August 4, 2010


Seconding JHarris on the Google Notebook front: it was the perfect, multi-platform note-making tool. Its utterly baffling termination very much precipitated the end of my Google dependence and a glance at the 1650+ (mostly negative) comments on their Notebook blog will attest that I wasn't really alone. Although Google claimed that its functionality could be replicated within Reader the two, in reality, were/are very different beasts. I seem to remember reading that Wave could also have served.
posted by specialbrew at 5:42 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you're using Google Notebook, here's how to pull your data out.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:42 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of glad to see this happening because after 10 or 15 minutes of having Wave, I still had no idea what I might use it for.

I don't like a toy that makes me feel like a fool.
posted by bilabial at 5:42 PM on August 4, 2010


Wave was useful for capturing / sending interview feedback. After each interviewer talked with the candidate, they would enter their feedback and general recap of the interview. It made it easy for the recruiter and hiring manager to look it over and make a call.

That's about all I ever used it for, though I suspect there were other niche applications of it.
posted by jeffamaphone at 5:49 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I suspect there were other niche applications of it
I'm associated with a translation project involving several texts and a few people dotted at various points around this country and internationally and Wave was one of the suggestions as a collaborative tool, though (like everyone else it seems) we hadn't actually got round to using it yet.
posted by Abiezer at 5:56 PM on August 4, 2010


The only wave I was on lasted about 5 minutes before someone pasted the entire contents of Moby Dick in the thread, which caused it to crash, permanently. To this day I can't load the site because, I guess, it helpfully loads that wave for me. Good times.
posted by cj_ at 6:06 PM on August 4, 2010 [11 favorites]


And yet, Knol shambles on.
posted by benzenedream at 6:16 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I interviewed at Google with one of the largish kahunas behind the Wave protocol. I got his name in advance, so I came to the interview prepared with lots of arcane knowledge of Wave algorithms and internals.

In the interview, he asked me to merge two lists1, something I learned how to do efficiently my first week of college... but I couldn't bring it to mind and handblurted a bunch of crap on a whiteboard until he put me out of my misery. He didn't ask me anything remotely related to Wave.

I didn't get the job.

Eat shit and die, Google Wave.2


1 It wasn't quite this simplistic, but it was close.

2 I don't mean this. Google Wave was a cool concept that just needed to be less amorphous. Also, I suspect the Google Overmind knows who I really am past my Mefi username, so I LOVES THE GOOGLE WAVE PLEASE SIR MAY I HAVE SOME MORE A JOB

posted by Riki tiki at 6:22 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I too still use Google Notebook. When that goes.....I don't know what I'll do.

Does anyone know a good replacement app?
posted by inigo2 at 6:28 PM on August 4, 2010


I didn't get the job.

And here's why Google fails so consistently when they step outside the pure application space. Their engineer obsessed culture is great when you're talking about building a search engine or recreating very well established applications (email, documents, etc).

But any time they step outside their comfort zone and do something that touches on the social they fall flat on their face. Google Video, Orkut, Lively, Buzz, Knol, Wave. They do not know how to help people interact because they are obviously at least half robot.
posted by malphigian at 6:38 PM on August 4, 2010 [9 favorites]


Google Wave was their Microsoft Bob.

Not even close. Google Wave was free, never made it out of beta, and went largely unnoticed - an interesting experiment by Google about which almost nobody cared. Microsoft Bob sold 58,000 copies, released twice, but was terribly unsuccessful - it was a public failure for Microsoft, but I'm betting Bob had more users than Wave.
posted by FormlessOne at 6:40 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


/ / / / ' ' '

.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:46 PM on August 4, 2010


I've waving it good bye

I'm here all week, tell your friends


I told them but they didn't want to wave back.
posted by mannequito at 7:08 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


has Google ever really created anything that's caught on?

Maps.

Remember how HUGELY BETTER Google Maps was than Mapquest, Yahoo Maps etc of the time?

(Also: the Maps APIs, which encouraged people to build projects on top of the maps.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:22 PM on August 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


We use wave at my workplace as a place to spew code snippets and funny urls.

Mostly funny urls.
posted by Jerub at 7:36 PM on August 4, 2010


We're having trouble coming up with something to replace it, since all of the alternatives (IRC? web-based forum? e-mail list?) just don't have the same affordances.

It's open source, so you can host your own server.
posted by empath at 7:39 PM on August 4, 2010


It is kind of a shame, frankly. They had a point--email and IM were developed to mimic existing communications paradigms, not to take advantage of the far more flexible and powerful tools we have today. Unfortunately, the rollout was designed to bore rather than excite every single new user, and that was that.

I expect we'll see a few features migrate to gmail, which would make me happy if I used gmail.
posted by Epenthesis at 7:41 PM on August 4, 2010


Gina Trapani's gonna be pissed. She was pushing the hell out of that 'Guide to Google Wave' as recently as early this week. I wonder if she got a heads-up?
posted by leotrotsky at 7:45 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well fuck. I used it.

Not all that often, but regularly enough that I'll miss it when it's gone. Plus the whole Firefly connection helped make it even cooler.

A waste of a good idea.
posted by quin at 7:52 PM on August 4, 2010


There are advantages and disadvantages to public betas. The advantage is that we get cool stuff much quicker. The disadvantage: some stuff falls flat. On the other hand, since it's all free, that's not really a disadvantage.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:52 PM on August 4, 2010




I was very skeptical about Wave when it came out. However, now I use Wave occasionally, when I need to work with researchers outside our org on something that's not confidential.

It's an odd combination of collaborative document editing and discussion, useful when you don't care about presentation but are trying to explore a big complicated mess of a problem in realtime with others. It has a lot of quirky features and is more than a little difficult to grok initially, but once you get comfortable with it it can be quite useful.

Its worst usability sin is that it doesn't scale well from a user experience perspective. Once a wave gets long, it becomes very difficult to navigate and track updates.

I'm not surprised it was killed, but I hope something takes its place. It was ideal for certain kinds of tasks and I don't think either GMail or Docs quite fill that void.
posted by xthlc at 8:03 PM on August 4, 2010


I can't believe you've all forgotten Google Base in your list of Google flops. No, wait, I can believe it.

Forgot what Google Base is? Here's the basics from their documentation.

It amuses me to see that (1) Google Base still exists and (2) at some point Google went "jesus, this is just a bunch of product data trying to game Product Search" and still didn't kill it off right then.
posted by mendel at 8:03 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't believe you've all forgotten Google Base in your list of Google flops.

I don't think they consider it a flop at all. It's just an adjunct to search.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:22 PM on August 4, 2010


My mildly informed suspicion is that Wave functionality will be embedded in the Google Apps suite, along with Docverse - a recent acquisition that'll be folded quite nicely into Google Docs.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:23 PM on August 4, 2010


Google Wave was their Microsoft Bob.
Not even close. [...] Microsoft Bob sold 58,000 copies, released twice, but was terribly unsuccessful - it was a public failure for Microsoft.
Not only that, but such roundly reviled innovations as "MSOffice Clippy" and "The Orange Cartoon Dog that mocks you while you try in vain to perform a file search in Windows XP" were also fruits of the Bob project.

The amazing thing is not that Bob was a failure, but that it took Microsoft 15 years to realize that people really, truly hate that crap. Such pig-headed devotion to a terrible idea would sink most companies, were it not for a pair of very lucrative monopolies.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 8:27 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was interested in Wave, but it doesn't run on Opera and I wasn't interested enough to open Firefox specifically to use it. I WILL, however, open Firefox specifically to use Google Notebook, which is awesome and still deserves resurrection.
posted by brookedel at 8:30 PM on August 4, 2010


I commend anyone who it trying to rethink email, im and other communications tools. For those knocking MS Bob remember that MS Bob and IPad both recognized that users struggled with the desktop computing interface. One product hit the right notes and was a huge success, the other failed. MS successfully identified the market problem, they just created the wrong solution.
posted by humanfont at 8:47 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


malphigian: "But any time they step outside their comfort zone and do something that touches on the social they fall flat on their face."

As soon as I figured out what Wave actually does, I thought it was a pretty interesting product that Google had just marketed horribly wrong. They positioned it as a social media tool, which it isn't. It's a collaboration tool. Rather than waving all my Google contacts be Google Wave contacts, it would have made more sense to be able to set up a Wave group of my work colleagues.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:17 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


* having
posted by roll truck roll at 9:18 PM on August 4, 2010


What's the closest open source equivalent?
posted by mecran01 at 9:57 PM on August 4, 2010


What's the closest open source equivalent?
--mecran01

Wave.

Google released the source code. Maybe someone will do something interesting with it.
posted by eye of newt at 11:06 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


It amuses me to see that (1) Google Base still exists and (2) at some point Google went "jesus, this is just a bunch of product data trying to game Product Search" and still didn't kill it off right then.

Google Base was most of the reason I quit Google. Our almost-ready product was forced to use Google Base and was delayed by a year. I wrote numerous memos later on, even asked Sergey personally about it, pointing out what a dog Google Base was, that it didn't have reporting (which I later wrote but apparently has never been used externally), that it was horrid to use as an internal engineer, that there were fundamental technical issues with how it was implemented that pretty well guaranteed poor data quality.

I was promised answers, but nothing. Years of my life were pissed away. I left and now I'm a full time musician, actor and writer (OK - I write software too). It worked out!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:07 PM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


"The Orange Cartoon Dog that mocks you while you try in vain to perform a file search in Windows XP"

That dog was my very favorite thing about Windows. The search is such crap and the dog just keeps goofing around like he's trying to distract you from the fact that you've been waiting 45 minutes for a single result from the query "*.doc". You had to give him credit for sheer gall!

I never got Wave, because I'm a pretty bad typist considering how much I type and I didn't like the idea of people watching me make mistakes. I used it for a few things, but never extensively. That being said, I'm sure many of us have worked on projects that felt revolutionary and earthshaking, and poured our hearts and souls into them, and created something we were proud of, and just had to sit and watch them fail to take hold. It's a horrible feeling. My heart goes out to the Wave team - they pulled off some really interesting work and the world just didn't know what to do with the end product.
posted by little light-giver at 11:28 PM on August 4, 2010


Seeing what Pamela Fox and the rest of the Google team could use Wave to do (pair programming with agents for to auto-lint, collab note taking/editing, etc) made me think it was cool and exciting, but it really needs at least one person who knows how to make it work well for it to be useful. That and the limited set of invites meant I got all excited about it and then never really used it much again, which is sad.

Aside from their ad products, has Google ever really created anything that's caught on?

Maps pretty much owns the online mapping and finding space.

App Engine.

I hear that phone OS of theirs is pretty popular these days, too.
posted by rodgerd at 11:48 PM on August 4, 2010


It's ok that I am wrong about my comparison, I'm just happy people are talking about Microsoft Bob.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:18 AM on August 5, 2010


It's fun on Twitter watching the people who insist that launch-early-and-iterate-in-public is the only way to launch a web app crow about Wave's demise.

Open-sourcers: the client isn't open source, is it?
posted by bonaldi at 1:06 AM on August 5, 2010


Yeah, Gina Trapani is going to be well annoyed. She even wrote a book about how to use it.

I actually did use it for something practical - my wife and I used it to collaborate remotely while househunting. I was in Edinburgh for work and she was in London, trawling through Gumtree ads and letting agent websites. We had one thread for prospects, another for viewings, another for hashing out our requirements list. Worked pretty well.

Oh well, bye Wave.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:38 AM on August 5, 2010


I think their biggest blunder was the limited invite rollout, as mentioned earlier. But it became clear pretty fast to me that wave suffered from serious performance problems, which likely made that necessary.

I like the idea, in theory. Email is not that great, IM is not that great, and IRC is not that great. But. They all do what they are supposed to do extremely well. Combining all three concepts into one application is a noble cause, but it needs to do it as well as the other three applications manage on their own. It did not. Not much more to say about it, really.

I don't see why they couldn't have integrated most of that stuff into gmail.

Well, email is based on a 30-year-old protocol called SMTP. There is no way to accomplish what they were aiming for with that protocol. Gmail is nothing more than a web-based email client, as slick as it is. It is not synchronous communication, but rather designed more like actual mail, with a goal of being robust at eventual delivery. Like a mailman that refuses to give up. At best they could have developed a whole application layer on top of email, but it would only work with a specific client, and would not be real time. Since it's supposed to be collaborative, this wouldn't work at all. What would happen if someone tried to edit the page, but their mail was undeliverable for 8 hours and when it finally showed up, someone else had already changed the same thing? These are problems that aren't even solved in modern VCS, which refuse to manually merge without human intervention.
posted by cj_ at 2:36 AM on August 5, 2010


Sorry, I realize I descended into jargon at the end there. By VCS I mean Version Control, the way multiple people collaborate on the source code for software projects. It happens often that two people edit the same file at the same time, one submits their changes, and then the other is left holding the bag -- because there's no way to figure out how to apply the second person's change without human intervention. Since they wanted Wave to be collaborative, this would be an endless problem unless it were all done in real time, which SMTP is not capable of.
posted by cj_ at 2:44 AM on August 5, 2010


I tried it. Didn't get an early invite, but I gave it a go when they set it free a few months back. Tried to use it for collaboration with a colleague of mine (who I had previously shown etherpad) - we played with some of the toys for a little bit, then drifted back to our existing system of email / GTalk / a wiki. I can't quite put my finger on why it was no good, but I still think it would have been a smarter move by Google to keep it around and tweak it, rather than just killing it dead.

That's a fundamental problem with these web services. If I found some piece of software in 1995 that does what I want, I can still keep using it, more or less, even if the people who created it are long gone. If I find a web service I like, someone out there has to keep providing it for me.
posted by Jimbob at 2:58 AM on August 5, 2010


I can't quite put my finger on why it was no good, but I still think it would have been a smarter move by Google to keep it around and tweak it, rather than just killing it dead.

Possibly because what they are trying to accomplish presents intractable problems at the technical level, at least with current technology and hardware. I have a top-end machine, and Wave was slow. Like, really slow.
posted by cj_ at 3:14 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wave bye bye.
posted by Elmore at 5:16 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish Wave was going to live on only so I could use that "it makes young people feel like old people do when THEY use computers" line.
posted by DU at 5:23 AM on August 5, 2010


But for what it actually was: A dynamic, mutual word processor, it was really great.

If Google had just said that originally, I might have tried it. Even if it's not an all-encompassing description of absolutely everything Wave does, it's clear enough to immediately get the general idea and think of ways that such a thing would be useful.

I get the feeling they thought this didn't sound exciting enough, and a lot of people would decide they didn't need something like that. So instead they hyped it as being revolutionary and exciting without actually explaining it. They kept it mysterious. Surely, everyone will want to try it then, if only to find out what the fuss is all about!

Instead, I think a lot of us are familiar with that sort of vague hype and have come to expect disappointment once we see the actual thing being hyped. So we don't even bother to check it out any more. That sort of promotional language is like "free gift", in that it seems to contain a built-in admission that whatever it is, it's not very good, and that's why we're not telling you what it is exactly.

Restricting access to it early on just made this worse, in that even if you did want to check it out anyway to see if there was anything to it, it was harder than it should have been to do so. Which means you are left with only the promotional language to judge it by. Once someone has written it off as not interesting, it's pretty hard to get them to take a look at it again later.

Generally it takes a lot of people saying how great it actually is to get people to give it another try. Or a first try, for that matter, once they opened it up to everybody. It takes a certain critical mass for that to happen, and I don't think Google ever got there with Wave. Those early mistakes virtually guaranteed that.
posted by FishBike at 5:44 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ha, my first thought was Gina Trapani, too. Did anyone listen to the podcast linked up above? What does she have to say?

Etherpad was mentioned at the beginning of this conversation, but let me re-iterate that if you're looking for a dead-simple text collaboration tool that your co-workers will grasp in two minutes, try one of the Etherpad reimplementations. No account needed, no lengthy tutorials, just simple color-coded text collaboration. The hardest part will be convincing your co-workers they don't have Save the document at all, and in fact it's probably better if they didn't hit that floppy disk icon at all...
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:13 AM on August 5, 2010


But for what it actually was: A dynamic, mutual word processor, it was really great.

Better than Google Docs, which is available for editing by anybody with a Google account, has version control, looks enough like Word that people know how to use it, supports spreadsheets and presentations, et al?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:50 AM on August 5, 2010


Did anyone listen to the podcast linked up above? What does she have to say?

She's disappointed, and thinks that Wave was just way ahead of its time but, during the recording, cared a lot more about the Prop 8 decision. Which should give us all a sense of perspective.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:10 AM on August 5, 2010


Just my 2¢: Towards the end of last year I attended a Google "developers" event for Wave, in Zürich. Took about two hours, big bonus was that at the end, the 50% or so of the 200-300 audience members who weren't "waving" yet got an invite (me too, for the yay).
It was remarkable how the attitude was one of "heck - we don't know what to do with it yet, either" - i.e., standing at attention in expectation that someone would come up with a killer use for the killer application - but they sure as heck weren't going to tell you how they figured people might want to use it, let lone tell you directly how to use it.
¢#2: There was an atmosphere of expectation that third parties would hook onto the API / protocols and write their own servers, and they stated that this would be welcome (i.e., we hack the sexy tech, you monetise it). However, it was also clear that it had not been so from the start. One thing they were working on was being able to run the engine on a plain vanilla ODBC/SQL backend. Originally, it was built on top of the hush-hush magic internal Google data cloud.
posted by labberdasher at 8:09 AM on August 5, 2010


I've been using it as a private wiki for some rpg-related stuff. Color me extremely anxious about its lack of export capability.
posted by immlass at 9:31 AM on August 5, 2010


The Right Way:
Step 1: Develop use case
Step 2: Develop software
Step 3: Demonstrate use case in software
Step 4: Profit

The Google way:
Step 1: Develop software
Step 2: There is no step 2.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:35 AM on August 5, 2010


blue_beetle, the AutoCAD folks did things the Google way, too. Doesn't seem to have made either company go bust.
posted by rodgerd at 12:13 PM on August 5, 2010


Quite liked it, but would see myself using it if it were an independent rather than browser based client. I was waiting. I wait no more.
posted by juiceCake at 1:37 PM on August 5, 2010


I can tell you why it failed in four words: hour-long training video.

I can't find it any more, but I remember the original tutorial video was over an hour long.
posted by nushustu at 1:44 PM on August 5, 2010


I'll admit, I never really used Wave, but there are a couple things I'd like Google to implement in GMail.

1) Adding people to the distribution list.
If I've got a long conversation that I'd like to include someone else in, I'd be cool if when I forwarded the email to another person, I had the option to send them the full history of emails sent up to that point and included them in the distribution from that point forward.

2) Adding "widgets" to emails.
A simple vote or calendar widget would do wonders for trying to plan anything out among a group of friends.

Also, I love Buzz and I really hope Google doesn't take that away from me.
posted by SAC at 7:44 PM on August 5, 2010


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