Both Google and outside observers had high aspirations for Wave, Google's browser-based collaboration platform. Google hoped Wave would revolutionize the way users communicated and worked; some experts went so far as to bill the offering as a worthy Microsoft SharePoint rival.
But today, just two and a half months after making the product widely available, Google announced it's going to stop developing Wave as a stand-alone product due to lack of user adoption. You could chalk up that poor showing to the fact that Wave was too confusing for users -- or perhaps because users or organization couldn't figure out how to fit the tool into their workflow or social interactions. Does that reflect a poorly designed product? Maybe it's more indicative of a product that's ahead of its time, one better suited for a generation of end-users more accustomed to a platform that integrates various forms of communication and applications à la Facebook.
The good news: Wave isn't disappearing entirely. Portions of the code and protocols it uses will be put to work in other Google products as well as third-party offerings, ones that could help bridge the gap between today's siloed approach to communication and collaboration and tomorrow's world of integrated, cloud-based services.
Moreover, vendors such as Novell, Oracle, and Salesforce.com who have integrated portions Wave code with their product offerings will be able to continue using the technology. "We will work on developing tools for customers to easily 'liberate' their content from Wave," a Google spokesperson told me via email.