Google Wave’s Bye-bye ~ What Killed Wave?

Wave may be Google’s most valuable failed application to date because of Wave’s team robust reimagining and robust use of HTML 5. No doubt, we will see elements of Wave’s development put to good use in other applications, and as a springboard for new ideas.

Bravo! Encore!

Wave is the latest social networking failure from Google. Prior to Wave, Google was stung with backlash from Google Buzz; a semi-blog like addition to Gmail which cause an uproar because Google presumed everyone on Gmail users’s contact list was fair game to everyone on Gmail users’s contact list.

But Google was in the right place with Gmail as the heart of a social network, both because of the vast Gmail user base, which affords instant large numbers needed for a successful social network, and because most people’s entire network is in their email contacts.

The common thread among Google’s social networking failures is user-controlled groups.

The Wave team never produced an easy way for users to create and control permissions for groups. Instead, Wave users had to create groups in Google Groups, which was added to the user’s Gmail contacts, which could then be imported to the user’s Wave contacts.


Maybe Google is too entrenched in perfecting individual user experience to truly grasp the importance of our ability to create groups and keep communications and information access separate between them.

Wave users constantly requested groups, and patched together rough ways of making groups with little help from the developers.

So, Google, let’s make this clear: We communicate differently with different groups of people, and we need to keep communications separate, and have control over personal information.

Google has the opportunity to create a social network through Gmail by adding just a handful of features:

Stupid Easy Group Creation 101

  1. Groups should be as easy to create as new calendars in Google calendar. Groups should, by default, have no more or less permissions than basic email. In fact, just assume the basic reason we want to create groups is to send the same email message to more than one person at a time.
  2. Adding contacts to a group should include the ability to drag-and-drop a contact to a group with secondary methods such as drop-down menus, right-click, or an add-to-group link on or near a contact’s or sender’s name, and tertiary methods in contact settings.
  3. Gmail’s inbox is fine for aggregation of communications, but group communications should also appear in a distinctly separate form, such as tabs or pages, which show only the group’s communications.
  4. Replies to a message should be easy to see and grouped with the message to which the reply relates, similar to Google Wave.

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