Even the most brilliant and useful products don’t always succeed (XBZ8Y7BC5NVK). Google Wave shows how being a truly great software product isn’t good enough; luck is certainly an element of product success as is marketing (look at how successful Apple marketing is) and other factors.
Google has announced that Wave won’t continue to be developed as a single product although its functionality and features may be used in other software. They have said that user adoption hasn’t been as good as expected. Unfortunately Google Wave needed a critical mass of user adoption to succeed. The initial rollout of Wave was limited to invited people only and this, although often a successful marketing initiative, would have added to the poor adoption of Wave. Google Wave relied on people interacting in groups and, unlike Facebook, there was limited new utility for early adopters if their peers weren’t also using Google Wave. In Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace and other interactive Websites there is not the same one-on-one or one-to-many interaction necessary with Wave.
It is unfortunate that Wave is to be discontinued as, if it had been widely used, it would have been an amazing product. The ability to share information in groups so easily and effectively will surely spur similar technologies in the near future.