Having written and presented a fair bit on Google Wave over the last year I couldn’t let the news that Google were pulling the plug pass without comment.
In the beginning …
It all started with such optimism back in May/June 2009 when I posted Google Wave – Opportunities for communication, collaboration and social learning in education. Like many others I perhaps focused too much on the real-time ‘almost character-by-character’ interaction, but I soon discovered that its possible strengths were more about how easily it was to embed waves in other sites and systems including VLEs (Black Wave: Embedding Google Wave (etherpad and mindmeister) into Blackboard, Black Wave 2: Blackboard Wave Integration!, Moodle Wave: Embedding Google Wave into Moodle). And also not forgetting the power of robots and gadgets (Educational Extensions (Robots and Gadgets) for Google Wave).
Many commentators have expressed their opinion about where Google went wrong. For me it was perhaps a chicken and egg scenario. Google wanted to employ the community to develop the product with/for them, but they couldn’t open the doors to everyone. This meant the focus was the beta site, ignoring any integration with other Google products (notably Gmail and Docs). (I hope you are struck by the irony of being able to embed Waves in Blackboard but not Gmail).
The pinnacle of my work on Google Wave was perhaps my presentation at our JISC Winter Fayre in December 2009. Whilst my slides are available, we have no recording of the event which is a shame because I was on fire ;-), but my Google Wave 101 post mirrors the structure and content of my talk.
After the storm
In my humble opinion if Google truly believe in ‘doing no evil’ then they need to open source every single line of code and let the community decide the future of Wave.
Do I regret spending so much time on Wave? No! That’s what the RSC is here for, to invest time in researching emerging technologies and practices to disseminate to our supported institutions (Here is a collection of my Wave posts).