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Why Google Wave failed / Alternatives

R.I.P. Google Wave

This month Google said it will drop the experimental service Google Wave.“Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked,” said Google senior vice president Urs Holzle in a blog post.Google said it will maintain the Google Wave site at least through the end of the year, and its technology will find its way into other Google projects. Parts of the code are already available as open source.

Clearly Google Wave offers a promising combination of technologies, allowing you to chat, share, bookmark, make appointments and collaborate in all kinds of other ways in a single stream of activity. Why then did it fail?

Distribution

The problem with Google Wave is not so much on the technological side as it is in the distribution model. For example: when I heard about Google Wave for the first time I was immediately enthusiastic and tried to find out how I could integrate it into my blog and social media site as an enriched commenting system. It turned out that when I got my Wave account, I could only invite 25 people, there was no WordPress Plugin available apart from some slightly lame widgets. And for my social media site there was no obvious and easy implementation to be found either.

Integration

Oddly when you look at Google’s own social media products no efforts have been made to integrate Wave either. There is no integration with GMail, Buzz, Orkut, Reader or any other Socially oriented Google product. According to Google’s statement we may see such cross functionality in the near future and apparently some open source code has been made available for developers (who haven’t done much with it sofar), so we may see some third party adaptation too although the announcement to drop the technology will make this less likely.

What’s Next?

Had Google taken a more open approach to the product’s introduction with many more third party plugins and options, more along the lines of Twitter’s business model, I think the product might have been a success. It could also have given it’s own products such as Buzz a competitive edge. But maybe it will in the near future. Let’s wait and see. For now Google Wave has gone the way of other “If you build it they will come” distribution models.

Alternatives

If you are looking to add some functionality to your site or team, similar to parts of Google Wave (or what it could have meant to your organization), have a look at these open source tools and resources:

Snipi: Collect, organize, share and collaborate. [no longer active]
Hootsuite: Collaborate in a team across networks (although the free version has little real value).Link
Drag To Share: drag content and share it. Read the tutorial and download the code here
Meebobar: drag to share alternative and many other social and sharing options. Learn more.

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Job Folbert :Online consultant iMocial. Internet adviseur Job Folbert gelooft in persoonlijk en betrokken advies: meedenken met de specifieke omstandigheden van iedere ondernemer. Wat voor doelen heb je met je website? Waar staat de website in verhouding tot je overige distributiekanalen? Hoe kun je het beste profiteren van nieuwe mogelijkheden in de markt en welke technologie past daarbij binnen jouw budget?

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