Monday, December 14, 2009
Is Google missing the mark with Google Wave?
When I started to use Google Wave I was ecstatic about a communication-centric model for collaboration where applications could be pulled as needed. Considering that I was an early adopter of its predecessor Lotus Notes since 1988, I saw the immediate benefit for teams to reclaim communication-centric collaboration and escape (once again) the grip of process-driven collaboration and email. Google Wave appeared to further enhance the Lotus Notes paradigm by allowing applications to enter the communication flow.
From my perspective Google Wave is revolutionary. But alas Google Wave is a big disappointment to me. Not because of its features and poor gadget library, but simply because Google missed their market. Google Wave can be a real breakthrough for enterprises seeking to inject contextual key business processes in communication flows. This way teams could easily engage in collaboration and deliberation, and pull within the context of conversation business applications and structured actions that benefit the organization’s core processes, thus feeding executive and project manager dashboards as decisions are made. It could be the bridge that reduces the growing gap between structured and unstructured business information.
So why would it work in the enterprise and not the consumer market? As I have been trying to engage my community (business, friends and communities) in Google Wave, it became clear that the communication alternatives of email, social networks and micro blogging was too comfortable and overpowering for Google Wave.
I think that Marissa Mayer (Google ‘s Vice President, Search Products & User Experience) dropped the ball on this one. Basically she failed to study the user experience in the context of today’s known disruptors and distractors to Google Wave.
This is a case of a consumer market company not seeing that the enterprise was the low hanging fruit. I have to add that is refreshing... given that I have witnessed many missed opportunities by Lotus and IBM to bring solutions to the consumer market that were better suited for on-line communities than executives.
To paraphrase a great French thinker, “All applications are equal but not at the same time or place”.
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