Quick-Mover’s Disadvantage

Unfortunately, Google Wave is officially in the DeadPool. What’s truly unfortunate about this, though, is that it highlights an issue: organizations that put significant money and effort behind an unproven technology, particularly when that technology is backed by a “reliable” player like Google.

In this case, I’m speaking about the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the new think tank that was founded last year with a $50 million pledge from George Soros. Admirably, The Institute was founded with Google Wave as a foundational technology. To quote their own site:

The Institute for New Economic Thinking uses waves as the central organizing unit of all our online collaborative work. Every video of an expert’s idea shot at a gathering could also anchor a wave and allow people to vote on its relevance, discuss and challenge it, or build on the idea with others to make it better. Or every major idea or conversation can be a wave that could conceivably roll on for months, pulling in people and ideas all along the way

A great vision, but what now? Google Wave will still be maintained online through the end of the year, but that leaves organizations like The Institute about 5 months to design, develop and deploy a brand new solution.

I can’t help but feel that when a large company releases a test product like this out into the wild, they have a duty of responsibility to provide longer notice and more notice than just a blog post. Developers are used to the risks inherent in a new project, but when that project is tied to a company with as much clout as Google, it’s easy to assume it will be around for more than a year.

To INET and others stuck in the same boat,I admire your ambition in leaping into this new technology with both feet, and best of luck with this new challenge!


VP HCM Products at NetSuite and Founder of TribeHR and Lewis Media. Waterloo Region Enthusiast and active volunteer.


  • I personally think it’s good to see Google trimming the fat
    and selecting between what works and what doesn’t.

    Wave was an interesting cross between documents, email, and instant messaging, but didn’t integrate well with any of the existing infrastructure.

    I doubt they’ll leave users hanging. I suspect they will either:
    1. Keep Wave online indefinitely for existing users, or
    2. Provide a migration path to Google Docs/Apps

    The new version of Docs already have a lot of Wave-like features and my bet is they’ll provide a way to import Waves.

  • I hope you’re right about keeping it up indefinitely, but the blog post only promised till ear-end.

    Re the migration tools, that wouldn’t likely help those custom systems that rely on the API, like INET.

    Hope I’m proven wrong on this one 🙂

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