Google Wave’s demise: How to screw up a great product!

Ask any Google Wave user and they will confirm that Wave is a very useful tool for working in collaboration on projects.  It’s powerful, fast and has a host of superb features.

So, why did Google announce yesterday that they were ceasing development of Google Wave?

The simple answer from Google, was that “we have not seen the level of adoption we would have liked.”  In other words, it attracted very few regular users.

The bigger question, and one that I believe a lesson can be gained from, is why did so few people use such a powerful, free service?

The Google Wave demo video was over an hour long!

Google Wave, like Google Buzz, came out of the blocks with a problem, which lost it a huge amount of early traction.  The initial Google Wave demo video, ran for over an hour – which was stupid.  People wanted to see something that showed them how to get started with Wave quickly, yet they had to wade through a shockingly poor, over long presentation instead.

By the time the problem was fixed, and the dumb-ass video replaced with something more appropriate, Wave had already lost millions of early adopters.

These early adopters (people like you and me) are the one’s who typically open new online services up to the non-geeks.

Google Wave User Interface was poor

The initial user interface was also far from instinctive, making it a lot harder to get things done, than needed to be the case.  In fact, lifehacker co-founder Gina Trapani was so frustrated by the lack of user information available, that she wrote a very useful book; The Complete Google Wave Guide – Which I’m guessing you will be able to get at a very reduced rate soon!

The worst part about the demise of Google Wave, is that it genuinely was a very good tool, which failed largely because of piss-poor launch marketing and a badly designed user interface.

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