Tag Archives: communication

The Rise and Fall of Google Wave

(In this guest post, Markus Hegi, partially-Pune-based CEO of partially-Pune-based company Colayer, laments the death of Google Wave, and points out that the concept behind the Wave is right. Google should have re-launched a new, improved Wave, he feels, because the world does need a paradigm shift in business communications. This article is a shortened & modified version of a post published on ex.colayer.com)

Google Wave
Google's revolutionary new communication and collaboration platform Wave is dead. Did it deserve to die? Markus Hegi thinks not. He believes that sooner or later, the world needs a Wave like system. Image via Wikipedia

3 days ago, Google announced that it would stop the development of Wave and would stop supporting it by the end of the year. Even though the buzz about Wave and the (visible) progress of Wave was low for the last few months, the shut down is surprising: I would have expected a re-launch, a change of the architecture, integration with gmail – anything, but not a complete halt – The concept behind Wave is right and ahead of its time – and Google could have been a leading player in this space!

When I looked at Wave for the first time right after the announcement one year ago, it struck me, how similar the concepts were to what we were working for years with Colayer. I started Colayer in 99 – suffering myself the mess of email communication. As a travelling business consultant I was convinced, that this can not be the way we will communicate in future! This is fundamentally wrong! – I mean: the basic idea of SENDING information on the web is wrong! (You GO TO and ARE ON Facebook, twitter, yahoo – you don’t ‘download’ it.) Google Wave addresses exactly these same issues.

We were excited to see, what approach Google would take to implement the new paradigm of online communication – But also realized quickly, that this product in this stage would not be usable for 3 main reasons:

  1. The Technical Architecture was too heavy and complex
  2. The Operability – The way to operate the tool was limiting
  3. The Notification – the way the users would be notified about updates in their many waves.

If you would use this product in a real world scenario with heavy communication, it would not work! – But Wave was at its very start. We thought Google would quickly realize the problems and implement solutions for it – and with their market power, Google would be able to initiate the paradigm shift in online communication.

But after the Wave launch, it seemed that innovation stopped. Yes, there was development, improvements & many extensions were released. But the above 3 problems were not addressed. They couldn’t be solved through improvements or extensions, but needed fundamental shifts in the product design – which never happened. And as many users seemed to loose patience too, Google pulled the plug for poor user adoption after only one year.

What went wrong? – Gartner has a valid point: “Startup innovation” has simply no place in a large enterprise software company. Well, this is not exactly what Gartner writes, but this is essentially the meaning: Either you are in the business of breaking & paradigm shifting innovation (Startups), or you are serving a large base of enterprise customers – Both together is almost impossible, because there is no breaking innovation, without messing up with your customers. After Wave was launched, even though it was still tagged as ‘beta’, the team could not just say to its 100’000 users: “you know, we just realized that the architecture has a fundamental problem – lets start it all over again …!” – which we, in a small company did several times …

Maybe another problem of Wave was, that Google choose the wrong market: Wave was intended for the broad consumer market, as well as for enterprises – But the paradigm shift happens elsewhere first: If you observe today’s kids and young nerds, you can imagine, how the next generation of businesses will use online communication: Email for them is ‘lame’ and just used for communication with outsiders, older people and the ‘conservative’ business world. Why would you need email anyway in a world of Facebook & Foursquare?

After 10 years, we are still in the beginning of the massive paradigm shift of online communication. I am eager to see, who will join the journey next!

About Google Wave

Wave is a web application for real-time communication and collaboration.

(See one of the most popular videos explaining the basic concepts of Wave)

Announced in May 2009, Wave attracted a lot of attention for a couple of months. The project was stopped by Google after just a little more than one year for poor user adoption.

About the author – Markus Hegi

Markus Hegi founded Metalayer (now renamed to Colayer) 10 years ago. The Colayer platform is a software technology to create collaborative web sites.

Colayer is a Swiss-Indian company with headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland and development center in Pune, India. Markus ‘commutes’ since 10 years between Zurich and Pune and spends almost half of his time here in Pune. See his linked-in profile, or follow him on twitter.

About Colayer vs Google Wave:

See an overview of articles about Colayer vs Google Wave on colayer.com.

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Seminar on Google Wave: Intro, Gadgets, Robots – Pune GTUG Meet – Sept 12

Pune Google Technologies User Group GTUG logoWhat: Google Technology Users Group (Pune GTUG) presents a seminar on Google Wave – Introduction, Gadgets and Robots
When: Saturday, 12th Sept. 4pm to 6pm
Where: Synerzip. Dnyanvatsal Commercial Complex, Survey No. 23, Plot No. 189, Near Mirch Masala Restaurant , Opp Vandevi Temple, Karve Nagar (Map).
Registration and Fees: The event is free for all, no registration required.

Google Wave is a new model for communication and collaboration on the web, coming later this year.

What is a wave?

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more. A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.  A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

Seminar Topics

  • Introduction to Google Wave
  • Building Extensions to Google Wave
  • Building Gadgets – Walk through of building a Gadget
  • Building Robots – Walk through of building a Java based Robot
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SIMC Seminar: Cyber Media Conclave – 28th March

What: A day long seminar on issues in internet as a communications medium, with Kiruba Shankar, Atul Chitnis, Rajesh Lalwani etc.
When: Saturday, March 28, 10am to 7pm
Where: Symbiosis Knowledge Village, Lavale, Pune
Registration and Fees: This event is open to all. For details contact Hamsini +91 90110 21853, or Deepali +91 97658 97445

The Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication (SIMC) is organising National Cyber Media Conclave ’09, a media seminar on the 28th of March, in its campus at Lavale. The event will explore various aspects of the cyber medium and its vast potential. A first of its kind initiative by any educational institution, NCMC aims to bring together stalwarts from the cyber world on a common platform where they can address enthusiastic young minds interested in cyber media.

The National Cyber Media Conclave will host two panels of speakers on the potency of cyber media for knowledge sharing, social change and networking; and the emergence of the web as a medium for branding and marketing. This would be followed by a workshop conducted by Mr. Rajesh Lalwani (Founder and CEO, Blogworks.com), and ‘Web Wunderkind’, a contest on the presentation of a business plan for the cyber medium. The winners of the contest would get cash prizes worth Rs. 15,000/-.

The following speakers are expected:
Kiruba Shankar, Co-founder, The Knowledge foundation
Namit Bhimbhat, CEO, Switch Media Services
Atul Chitnis, Senior VP, Geodesic Information Systems
Jasmeen Bhateja, Founder, www.blanknoise.com
Rajesh Lalwani, Founder and CEO, blogworks.com

See the event page for more details.

Also, remember that there are 6 tech events competing for your attention this weekend, including Dhananjay Nene‘s talk on strengths and weaknesses of programming languages, and Atul Chitnis on How the world is changing, and what startups should do about it. For details see the PuneTech calendar.

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