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Posted by TJ Keitt on August 5, 2010
Yesterday (August 5), Google announced that it was ceasing attempts to make Google Wave a viable standalone product. Considering the fanfare that the product received in the run-up to its general release (announced at Google I/O in May), it was no surprise the story burned across the blogosphere and the press. In following some of the Twitter traffic, what I found interesting was some of the low-level chuckling I saw from some competing vendors in the collaboration software space. Why? Well, before I get into that, let me make a couple of stipulations:
With that in mind, I can understand why Google's latest misstep has some of its competitors tut-tutting: You could argue Google is still new to the collaboration software business and, as they've done in the past, they tossed a product out to the market without fully thinking it through. While I agree that this is certainly part of the problem, I view Wave as a cautionary tale for the collaboration software space as a whole. Why? Like many vendors in the market, Google wasn't just proposing a new collaboration tool -- they were claiming a revolutionary way for people to work together. As a means of differentiation, many vendors in this market have been rolling out tools that make a similar claim. So before product managers and marketers at these firms completely write off the collapse of Google Wave, let's take a moment to run down three things Google (hopefully) learned and what other collaboration software vendors offering new working paradigms should consider.