Google Wave got a lot of tech press when it was first announced and techies lined up to try and get an early beta invite (myself included) hoping I think to get in on the ground floor of what many hoped would be the next Gmail success. In the time that followed the excitement over what Wave could bring to the table as some new transformative web technology began to fade.
Well at today’s I/O conference Google announced that it was taking the beta tag off of the service and that Wave would be available to anyone with a Google account. One has to wonder though if this new status for Wave will make any difference to the confusion as to what exactly the service is, or will it only become more confusing as more people try it out.
The thing is that for all the really interesting technology behind Wave the service is incredibly hard to describe to people. After all how do you describe something that is a mixture of an instant messenger, email, social network, and collaboration tool to people who think that Facebook is the Web.
During its time as an invite only beta Wave has found some traction as a collaboration tool with people like Chris Brogan singing its praises but from my experience with it has been less than stellar. Don’t get me wrong I still think that the concept is really interesting and full of potential, I just don’t think that Wave is something that will gain any real traction amongst regular Web users.
As it is, even amongst the more admittedly tech oriented contacts in my Wave address book, you can see the biggest problem facing Wave – no-one is using it (a small green dot will appear on their profile avatar is they are using Wave).