Ah, those days when we were all desperate for people to invite us to Google Wave, got our invitations, jumped into the deep end and collectively muttered “Now what?” Those days were only a short while ago, but Google is getting better at knowing when to cut and run. That’s why tonight’s announcement that Google Wave will not have future development is no surprise. The actual quote is:
But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, 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.
I’m a trained marketing professional and can render those 300 characters with 18 of my own. We’re killing Wave (Did you get that too? Great. Maybe you’re a trained marketing professional too. We have nifty handshakes and decoder rings. Send $10 via PayPal and I’ll tell you them).
The post by Google Fellow Urs Hölzle is correct in one area. Wave was exciting. He says Googlers were jazzed by the service, and I would argue that the web early adopters were just as jazzed. The problem with Wave is one that constantly faces smaller companies. They built it, everyone came, and no one knew how to use the technology to enhance anything. It didn’t revamp email. It wasn’t the opening salvo in unified communications. It didn’t replace long forum or email threads. A lot of people just let it sit there, idle, until Google shoved its next offering, Buzz, into Gmail and opened another can of worms.
Meanwhile, Google Wave sat on your toolbar and reminded you that you hadn’t figured out why you wanted the damn thing in the first place. Your takeaway as a small business leader is to know when to fold ’em. You must be brutally honest with all of your product and service offerings. If they aren’t pulling their weight, you have to end them. Two years from now, no one will talk about Google Wave. Or Google Buzz. Or any of the other big web products that have been attempted and rolled back. You can shut down an unprofitable or time-wasting drag on your resources or it can help to shut down your business. There. That’s not a hard choice, is it?