Sydneysiders on RIP Google Wave May 2009 – Dec 2010

Google wave is to be no more, the Google team in Sydney, having put a lot of effort into an innovative new product will see the technology developed in a different way.  What happened?  Wave had some internal competition from Google Buzz, and users were having to get used to two very different ways of communicating.  And in both cases you need someone to communicate with. A very active Sydney Wave user group dived into the technology, visited Google HQ and began to experiment.  Here are some of their discussions on hearing the news but first, from the Google blog:

… 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. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.

Posted by Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Operations & Google Fellow

I didn’t know you could be a Google Fellow! But that aside, here are comments from the wave user group in Sydney on their experience with using wave and interacting with the Google Wave team. The discussion took place on facebook, but some of the points raised are so pertinent I wanted to post them here. I agree with Tony’s comment:

Tony Cosentino

It’s funny, I was at a gathering the night before the announcement and when wave came up in conversation someone said ‘does anyone even use it?’ Most agreed not.

I made a statement that I believed they had rolled out BUZZ and WAVE the wrong way around. I think WAVE should have been offered to all gmail users from the beginning to allow a critical mass to use and understand it. It was so hard to try putting groups together in the beginning with limited invites it all became like a secret cult with little documentation.

I feel for Gina Trapani who wrote the ‘Complete Google Wave Guide’ as an ongoing project. And also the programmers we have met at google wave meeting putting a lot of time and money to develop wave tools. No One in google lost their jobs over it.

I am also glad I hadn’t put anything really critical on wave that I was relying on as a long term repository.

Frances Jones

What I appreciated about Wave was that Lars, Jens & co created it in Sydney and I will always admire them as entrepreneurs. Heck, Lars even came to see us speak at the User Group. Many of the nscm crowd got together at Google HQ because of it. It created positives for us.

Google spent I don’t know how many $millions on Wave which Sydney benefitted from. Positives all round for us I’d say.

Tony Hollingsworth

Spot on Frances – the community building and support that occurred remains.

For example, some memories include:
http://gwsug.eventbrite.com/ – the informal user groups where you can see the range of people interested.

http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%23gwsug – we coined the hastag #gwsug for Google Wave Sydney User Group and can enjoy the history via FriendFeed, including the photos of the community.

Finally your teriffic blog posts Frances capturing the initial excitement and promise of Wave:

First impressions of Google Wave, An Australian Perspective
Innovation according to Goovle Wave co-creator Lars Rasmussen

These guys (and many others) really were experienced on wave and their comments, to me at least, say a lot.