BLOGGED BY AMDOCS' AMNON EKSTEIN...
I was sorry to discover that Google had decided to pull the plug on Google Wave so quickly after its release to the public. This was Google’s first real foray into social/collaboration networking prior to Google Buzz, and I think it offered one of the greatest collaboration tools available on the Web today.
But I also think that there are some valuable takeaways from this failed experience for all of us here, including developers and service providers, when it comes to successfully launching new innovation.
Google Wave’s creators are the brothers, Lars and Jens Rasmussen, who invented Google Maps and wanted to bring another great invention to the market. Lars Rasmussen described Google Wave as “equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more,” and further describing it as “what e-mail might look like if it were invented today.”
So what went wrong?
Google Wave didn’t meet Google’s expectations of reaching a large number of users, since it wasn’t a basic, simple tool like Twitter or Facebook that the average user could quickly adopt – to use it properly required a much steeper learning curve. And today that means investing more time than people are usually willing to give when mastering a new tool, (unless it’s become a really important social tool or can help them to perform their job better).
Unfortunately, it appears that even Google, despite all of its promotional channels and massive advertising budget, can be unsuccessful if the tool in question is too complex and “user-unfriendly”.
I believe that Google made two major mistakes: the first one was positioning Google Wave as an end-user tool, which directly addressed the entire end-users community. Instead, I think Google should have focused on building a strong application-developers community that could use the powerful platform and infrastructure to introduce attractive applications to the end users, both private and business.
The second mistake was the premature launch of Buzz to the market, which tried to provide a quick alternative to FaceBook, but without any real advantages. Instead of merging the great technology of Wave with Buzz, Google gave up Wave in order to promote Buzz, but ended up confusing users and was left without a new innovative way of communication.
However, the tool is still there; Google has released most of the source code as open source software, allowing the public to develop its features through extensions – so maybe it’s not too late to catch the wave after all?
To read further articles, the Amdocs Voices blog discusses and shares insight into the Telecoms industry and its future.
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