Google Kills Wave

5 08 2010

I just read about the demise of Google Wave.  There is lots of talk about why Wave failed but what interests me more is the evolving Google product development model.  Google tries things out in the market, gets feedback, adjusts, and very quickly kills projects that don’t work.  Google has killed several projects this summer including

The important thing is that Google is listening very closely to these “failures” and learns from them.  They use social media very effectively to listen to their customers.  The power of their brand also means that large industry players will take them seriously and provide input.  The result is that Google is on the cutting edge of sensing what the market is thinking.

Why didn’t Google Wave catch on?

  • Google Wave was very interesting but it demanded too much change in the way that users go about their work.  The best tools are those that fit naturally.
  • 500 million Facebook users.  The value of social networking is in the size of the community.  Google faces a big “barrier to entry” in jumping this hurdle.

What we are seeing here is a new style of product development.  Google has already shown itself to be the master of the very long beta.  Now they are going beyond that into product launches that are trials.  If the services don’t stick in the market, they are killed.  In both the betas and trials, Google has the mechanisms in place to listen to the feedback from customers, non-customers and partners.  They have shown that they are very willing to take action based on this input.

There is already a rumor of a Google Me service that is supposed to take on Facebook directly.  The reasoning goes that Wave was removed from the market to clear space for this new entrant due soon.  When it launches, we will see what Google has learned from listening to its customers and partners.

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