In case you haven't heard.
So, on Google's "Official" Blog (which one guys? You have so many!) they announced yesterday that they are pulling the plug on Google Wave.
I think Wave had some really good potential, but I'll say it here, as I have said it since the beginning, Wave would have never caught on unless it replaced something else. Wave was pretty neat, it was like a Wiki, Google Docs, Gmail, Gtalk, and god-knows-what-else all rolled into one. It worked, it worked pretty well. But it didn't replace anything for anyone. It was a "and also" technology.
Google rolls some of the technology they developed for Wave into the rest of their products. For instance, simultaneous typing. That could be useful in Gmail and Gtalk.
I think the collaboration-on-documents idea was great. That would be most useful in a corporate setting. I would have loved to use it at Sourcefire.
Some of their design ideas were great. Look at the navigation window over here on the right. Look at the shading around the box, Look at the title bar (how it can be collapsed). Look at the "+" button. It all looks very nice. It has icons, it has lots of html5 being used to shade and render it. The drop shadow, the links. Every box on Google Wave seemed to be more carefully thought out and precise. The GUI was a wonderful idea and one couldn't very well argue with that. The scroll bar (not pictured here) was nice to use. Every pane was separated into it's own individual boxes. You could tell there was a difference in between all of them. Take a look at this post over at lifehacker.org: http://lifehacker.com/5400644/google-wave-look-and-feel-coming-to-gmail-other-google-apps. I don't where they got that screenshot, but that's the way that Gmail should look! Look at the boxes, the drop shadows, the shading. The whole look and feel reeks less of a "Web App" and more of a Desktop app. It has polish. It has great design. If you take a look at a screenshot of Gmail, from my own inbox, you will see what I am talking about. Look at the panes here. Look at the navigation windows. This is not good GUI design in a web app, functional? Yes. Good looking and easier to navigate? No.
If Gmail wants to act like they are a desktop email replacement tool, they need to stop looking like "Mutt" and start looking like Wave.
In a way, I'm kind of sad to see Wave go. There was a lot of really great ideas there. I enjoyed using it.
However, I can totally see how it didn't work for some people. It was confusing. People didn't understand how it was different from anything else they used. As I said, it didn't replace anything they already had, it didn't have a "need". When the iPhone was invented people immediately saw the "need" for it. A phone that is brilliantly easy to use. It also replaced things. It replaced their phone, it replaced their blackberry. It was simple.
Wave wasn't simple. It didn't replace anything, and that is why it failed. People don't need another email system. In fact, they need less.