Thursday, August 5, 2010

Catch the Google Wave but Bring a Life Jacket

Here today, gone tomorrow. Google Wave, much touted as the next great real-time collaboration platform is gone. Introduced with great fanfare in May of 2009, it never caught on for a variety of reasons. Too much competition, too complicated and too narrow a scope, this latest jewel in the Google crown fell off earlier this week. Once again, Google releases a much hyped-product and then, for lack of use, pulls it off the shelf. Only one million user implemented the Wave which is considered low adoption in the world of cloud application. Compare this number to the tens of million who are using Google Buzz - a much less complicated product.

My beef with Google is, again, why are we the extreme beta tester for its products? Sure one million may not be a big  number in the realm of the Internet but what are those users going to do with their Wave-based collaboration projects? Google, in its attempt to organize the world's data, releases products in a hurry to see who will climb on board. If the wagon is not full - the users are sunk. Because their products are free, Google feels that it hold no responsibility to support affected users. Compare this to a recall on other types of consumer-products. Just ask Toyota.

In closing, I am at a distance learning conference in Madison, Wisconsin. When I received the program a few weeks ago, I was particularity interested in attending a session that discussed the academic uses of Google Wave. The session was scheduled for today. When I arrived at the room where the session is to be held, there was a sign posted on the door - "Session Canceled"

Before getting on a Google boat, be sure you are wearing a life jacket.

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