All of the buzz about Google Wave has turned to a ripple since Google Buzz made a big splash in the same social pool. What gives? An internal strategy of innovation that looks for all the world like endemic mismanagement…
As much admiration as I had for Google Wave, by the current glacial rate of innovation and feature additions, we ought to have an export as PDF option by the time man walks on the Martian surface in a couple of decades or so.
Don’t get me wrong, Wave is a solid collaborative word processor for business, and still has merits. However, if you take the aforementioned current slow developmental cycle and couple that with an apparent lack of focus within Google, the future of Wave could be in doubt. Sort of.
Google’s desire to out innovate everyone could well be their undoing. At the heart of this culture of innovation is the 80-20 rule, where staff are encouraged to spend 20% of their work time pursuing pet projects, some of which have made their way into Google Labs.
Now, you might think this is great! And to some extent it is. But then you start to use Google’s many applications and become frustrated and begin to ask yourself why related applications don’t work more closely together. And the reasons for this are manifold. As an example, as far back as 2007, I was asking why Google FeedBurner, Analytics and Webmaster Tools aren’t combined into one product.
First of all, there’s no underlying, unified way in which the applications can communicate with each other. And even if they could, because they’re often not written in a common programming language (a mixture of C++, PHP, Java etc), there’s no unified data format, or even a common API.
Meanwhile, we all sit frustrated, wondering why Google’s stuff doesn’t just work like Apple’s stuff does.
So what of Wave? Well, even if the be-suited gentlemen and women in the upper echelons do actually come to a decision within the astrological age of Aquarius, it’s unlikely we’ll be biding a farewell to Wave. After all, they’d just silly, wouldn’t they? Look at the amount buzz and fanfare we saw when Wave went into the wild. No, it’s more likely that Wave would wind up weaving it’s way into the inner workings, somewhere else, way lower down.
Ah, that word again. Buzz. I must confess, I know nothing about Buzz because I don’t use Gmail. Why don’t I use Gmail? Because I have a perfectly reliable email service thank you very much! What little I do know is that Buzz has eclipsed Wave in the popularity stakes.
But let’s put this in some kind of perspective; they’re not even remotely competitive with one another. Some have made the daft statement that Buzz will replace Wave. Quite what they were drinking / smoking / injecting at the time is anyone’s guess.
What we see of Wave is, in many ways, superficial. Underneath the slick interface lies a formidable architecture that allows for some exceptionally sophisticated software sleight of hand. Take for example the way in which two or more people can write into the same document. Looks simple, but the mechanics are very impressive indeed. And if Wave was all washed up, we’d expect to see the Buzz beachcombers picking over the pieces…