Is Google Wave a Flop?

In may 2009, at the Google I/O Conference, Lars Rasmussen presented a new Google application called “Google Wave” that should have revolutionized the way to communicate and collaborate on-line. The new Google product immediately took many positive comments and was defined as one of the most promising tools of 2010. But the initial enthusiasm was short lived.
Google Wave is an application that merges instant messaging, e-mail, document editor, wiki tool and much more, but it seems none of this.

Lars Rasmussen at the Google I/O Conference (May 2009)

The lack of clarity in what the application does, generates confusion so that many users report that Google Wave is nothing else then a “big” chat, too complicated, unclear and confusing.

In all honesty, I had the same sensation every time I tried to use it. Google Wave should be the killer application to manage, for example, living group projects or for brainstorming sessions but in practice its disadvantages are more than its advantages. One for all: chatting is an activity that requires a lot of time and is totally impracticable in all these situations that require complex interactions between many users.

If I need to do a brainstorming session with the other members of the group I’m working with, I prefer to do a conference call using Skype or iChat rather then wasting time in a chat. Talking directly with your partners is without doubt a faster and more productive way to collaborate.

Another aspect to consider is that Google Wave is not strictly a product for the masses such as Facebook or Twitter but it’s more addressed to professional users and this can limit its diffusion (by the way, SAP launched 12Spints a collaborative decision-making tool to solve business problems collaboratively and in real time inspired to Wave).

What’s the future of Google Wave? Will it have the same destiny of other Google products such as Google Answers or Lively (launched in july 2008 and hastily closed six months after) or the same success of GMail? What do you think?

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