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.
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?