16 months is too short a time to adopt Wave

Google recently announced that it discontinuing its Wave communications tool [1,2]. Wave was announced in May 2009 and discontinued in Aug 2010. Wave existed for 16 months. Google states "Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked." The rate of user adoption for such a radical change in communication is not going to happen in 16 months. Facebook took many years and its services are based on existing means of communication. Skype and Twitter also took years and they too offer services based on existing means of communication. Wave has little precedent in the wild (although many academic ancestors). Only now is the company I am working for considering moving to Google Apps and that has been out for years. Change happens slowly. The time of rapid internet tools adoption is over. We are returning to a new normal.

Every group establishes the tools and protocols of communication very early in its formation. Only new groups -- and perhaps only new groups in new situations -- have the chance to immediately adopt new forms of communication. For every other group, the group needs a lot of time to 1) recognize what is being lost in the current means of communication, 2) understand the loss's cost to the group, 3) set out to discovered tools and/or protocols that enables both to continue the successful communication and to reduce/eliminate the recognized lose, and, finally, 4) adopt the change with planning for the concomitant communications turbulence. 16 months is far too short a time to adopt Wave. For those that have adopted Wave within those 16, the time since adoption has been far too short to understood Wave effectiveness.

Google pulled the plug on Wave too soon.

[1] http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/update-on-google-wave.html
[2] http://wave.google.com/about.html
[3] http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/went-walkabout-brought-back-google-wave.html