The Legacy of Google Wave

Google Wave

Google Wave logo via Wikipedia

If you’re like most people, you have no idea what Google Wave was. Wave was an amazing collaboration tool, but it languished and ultimately failed because it lacked commitment from Google. Google saw Wave as an interesting experiment that could ultimately improve other products, but not as something that it should promoted as a legitimate tool.

Those who discovered and used Wave enough to figure it out loved it. The great challenge of Wave was understand how it was best used and where it was best applied. With a little trial and error, this could be overcome. For our small management group, it was fantastic. It was a truly astonishing blend of email, instant messaging, and wiki.

Google Wave thumbnail

Google Wave (courtesy of

The recent announcement that the orphaned Google Wave project has found a new home with Apache is very exciting. This author is anxious to see what Apache will do with the technology. Meanwhile, a few others are moving into the same space and trying to address the short-comings of Wave.

One example this blogger recently stumbled across is Yellowfin. Yellowfin has taken most of its functionality and design directly from Google Wave. They’ve streamlined certain features and, it appears, given up on others (there appears to be no collaborative editing of individual messages or “blips” in the thread). More than any innovation, however, Yellowfin is simply trying to market the technology Google didn’t.

Even though Google abandoned Wave, we can expect to see techniques learned from the experiment improve user experience in other Google applications and drive new applications from other developers. Farewell, Wave, we hardly knew ye. Or should that be, you were here for a good time, not a long time?


About Fergus

Fergus likes to invent cool titles for himself, such as “Communications Specialist” or “Internet Architect”. What it really comes down to is that Fergus’s passion is internet communication. He believes that helping people communicate more effectively makes the world a better place. To this end, he seeks opportunities to help individuals, businesses, and non-profits to communicate their ideas, products, and services beautifully. Some examples of the types of work Fergus undertakes: web design, graphic design, programming, and search-engine optimization. Fergus also enjoys consulting with people about their existing web sites and strategies as well as their plans. Fergus doesn’t enjoy writing about himself in the third-person quite as much, but sometimes it seems a necessary evil.
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