Will You Surf on Google’s Wave?

Craig Buckler

Do you remember Google Wave? The HTML5 project was one of Google’s more exciting endeavors in 2009. Google believed that email was old, clunky and needed to be re-imagined for the 21st Century. Wave would be the next step in online communication evolution; it combined email, chat, brainstorming, scheduling, documentation, tweeting and feeds in a central location. What’s more, developers were provided with a full API to develop their own collaboration tools and widgets.

Wave was launched on September 30, 2009 as an invite-only preview service. The hype and excitement died the same day. The application was not intuitive, buggy, and few people understood it. Part of the problem was Wave’s interface: it looked just like another email client. Google also found it difficult to explain what Wave did and the benefits it offered.

Google then scored an own goal with Buzz. At best, it overshadowed Wave. At worst, it contributed to the confusion and raised some alarming security issues.

Like many people, I tried Wave but soon abandoned it. Few users adopted the system so there was little opportunity to try its collaboration methods. For all its faults, people understand email, use it every day and rarely encounter major complications.

However, Google still believe in Wave. They’re relaunching the project and hope to entice new users. You don’t need an invite so it’s available to
everyone at wave.google.com. Actually, it’s not quite “everyone”: the system fails to load in Internet Explorer and Opera isn’t supported.

Google’s blog post states:

If you tried Google Wave out a while ago, and found it not quite ready for real use, now is a good time to come back for a second try. Wave is much faster and much more stable than when we began the preview, and we have worked hard to make Wave easier to use.

Are you using Wave? Did you abandon it but are willing to try it again? Does it still confuse you? Or would you never use the system? Please vote on the SitePoint home page or leave your comments below.