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WIIIIPEOUT! What to Learn from Google Wave’s Web Surfing Crash.

August 5th, 2010 | | Social Media & SEO

Waving Goodbye To The Day
Once upon a time there was a tool that was supposed to revolutionize the way people interacted with each other online. Facebook killer? Pleaaaase! Try EMAIL Killer!

This tool was making the Post Office plan its Pony Express-like demise.

Part Blogger, part Facebook, part Basecamp, part genius.

But, now, sadly, in the words of David Gray:

Say Hello; [Google] Wave Goodbye.”

Standing in the dark of my rounded work den, astounded in amazement when I read my screen and saw I was in the first “wave” group of people to receive invites to try Google Wave. It was a kind of so-so love (enough of the parody)…but I was gonna make sure to make the most of it. Friends were calling, tweeting, emailing, “Hey, can I have one of your invites?”

I could have sold the invites. I’d have an LED TV by now.

Because, unlike Buzz, Google Wave was loaded with potential.

We tried to make it work in all sorts of events: waves, collaboration tools…The editor of our local paper got the API token and embedded the wave on the site so a few of us could hold an open discussion on President Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.

And Google Wave isn’t completely dead. Completely.

Of the two “social” tools released in the last 12 months, I hoped Google Wave would have been the tool that was spared the wrath. And it’s only “mostly dead.” The code is available for open source (for the programmer in you). But after watching all the that transpired and covering Wave’s rave since it was released, I saw how companies could learn a lot about what not to do when pre-pre-releasing an SEO / social media tool.

Aside from the flaws…no gmail integration…lack of WYSIWYG…

1) Never let the community feel as though they’re doing the work for you. – The idea behind the Google Wave release was that SEO / Social Media community would test it and send in their info. From my experience, the community found enough problems to make the product feel like it was in “pre-beta,” and that we were finishing the idea for them.

2) Make sure the product is ready for the buzz that comes with exclusivity. – From my understanding, part of the reason for the ‘exclusive’ invites was so Google could handle the suggestions and work on the changes before releasing it on a wide scale. The problem was that the moment Google “invited” a few and made a function to “suggest” inviting more, the community wanted to be a part of it. Now.

3) If you have a high-profile manager who likes the productmake sure he’s out of the country, perhaps, climbing a mountain or something, reportedly without his laptop or other communicative devices, when you finally decide to kill the project.

Wow, I can’t wait to read what Cutts has to say when he gets back.

I do hope that if Google gets their Social together that Wave is included, with gmail integration…and a WYSIWYG editor…

(photo credit:  Angus Stewart via Flickr)

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