Wave Goodbye to Google Wave

Aug 05, 2010

Google is not afraid to try and fail. For that, you must give the company its due. Most companies of this size and success become cautious and risk averse, only launching products consistent with existing popular product lines. Well, when it comes to Social Media, Google has not had much success, culminating in its announcement yesterday that it would no longer develop Google Wave.  Google Buzz remains alive, if not well, and the company is said to be poised to deliver another Social Tool, Google Me that would "compete with Facebook." Well, you can't blame 'em for trying. As I said, I'm impressed at the willingness to keep throwing ideas out there--demonstrating the kind of startup entrepreneurial spirit a lot of large companies would do well to emulate. I think that, given the negative buzz surrounding the Google Buzz launch, the company must focus more attention on how to successfully roll out these new tools.

Shore Communication's John Blossom--an avid Google Wave user--said, "The Google announcement and comments by CEO Eric Schmidt make clear that Wave technologies and Wave-like functionality will make its way into other Google platforms." However, he points out that "There's a broader picture that Google must address, namely, how does effective collaboration in real-time mix with the broader commercial necessity to field a product that draws users away from competitive products. Wave doesn't compete with anything directly, expect perhaps wikis. If you take what Buzz, Wave, Sidewiki, Voice and other Google platforms can do and put them in a more competitive framework, perhaps you come out ahead. So although killing an excellent new product platform saddens me, perhaps there's another chapter to the story that has yet to be told."

John has a point; there are ways that these various tools could form a collaborative platform. However, what I see missing from Google's adventures in social is that it doesn't leverage its core strength: search. Social search and socially mediated discovery are without a doubt two of the hottest trends to watch. And with a name synonymous with search, well, this seems the way to put its best foot forward in social.