Is it just me, or is Google slipping? While it used to be that Google’s newest offerings would be anticipated almost as much as the next iPhone fix, they seem to have fallen flat of late.
Right about the time the Twittersphere was exploding, Google Wave hit the virtual shelves. It seemed like it had potential, especially for a TV station web site looking to spread its social media wings a little. Information on any number of stories could be shared on an “as it comes in” basis, with viewers injecting their own ideas, updates or opinions. And it could be left active for hours – or even days – to let others join in and catch up.
Though it has since gone public, its early use of invitations (Google’s preferred means of forced popularity) meant that while the user base might have been small, it also would likely be dedicated and users would tie their Wave account closely to their personal identity, hopefully leading to honest, reasoned dialogue.
Yes, it could have been awesome.
But the Wave never seemed to hit the shore. I toyed with it amongst friends and aside from the “Wow!” factor, it seemed difficult to go back and follow later. And that was just 60 or so “posts” between four or five people. I couldn’t imagine the maze of conversation between dozens – or hundreds – of viewers.
Also, there was the bane of the Web for all-time – cross-browser slapfighting. Excited to bring my new Wave account to work months ago, I found that the Internet Explorer-based newsroom wouldn’t fly with Google Wave without extensions. An elimination of part of an already small user base is not a good thing. If needed, I could probably twist some arms to get a Wave-acceptable browser installed at my desk. But would IE-loving users follow suit? Seemed like too much hassle for an experimental run.
I thought maybe I had just let technology pass me by a little and that, while I thought Google Wave had fizzled out, it was actually thriving in some corner of the Web. Apparently, that’s not the case. Clicking through Mashable, the social media bible, they hadn’t even touched a Google Wave story since January, and hadn’t written new since November. Not good news for Google Wave.
So what about you, web-using public? Have you caught the Wave? I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences.
Next week: “Has Google Buzz lost it’s sting?” and other bad social media puns.