[Photo by Clark Little]
Last night Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President Operations & Google Fellow, wrote in the official Google blogthat they will stop the Google Wave project and the attempt to try to create a product out of it.
Some have foreseen this happening already in October 2009 such as Robert Scoble in his highly visible blog post “Google Wave crashes on beach of overhype“. He criticized the total overload of information that Google Wave creates making it unusuable as a practical work tool. Of course Google hoped that the developer community would fix this and come up with creative ways but that has not happened either.
Product development can be supported but not totally handled by the public community. What Google should have known and for sure learned from the Wave project now is that you need to set a clear direction still and have a strong product to start out, with a clear value.
What amazes me about this end is the fact that many got caught by total surprise with this announcement. I could still hear just a few weeks ago during a client meeting that also Google Wave would possibly be a candidate for a community platform solution and some folks predicted even the end of email and collaboration tools when Wave is in full swing. Nope, not so fast.
Failed innovations often make you learn much more than successful ones. That remains here now as a positive and of course some valuable public source code also that can be used in other projects to come.
Google keeps innovating and also stopping failed innovations such as this one or the NexusOne mobile phone business model. This approach is much better than sitting and waiting for others to make a first move and then copying it. Only with such a pro-active approach can one land the next big IT wave project and failures are a common part of active innovations not to be feared at all – in contrary.