Back in the day, like last October, we were ravenously scavenging for that coveted Google Wave invite that was going to change the way we communicated online forever and ever. Some crazies even bid $5000 for one on eBay. Then we actually got it and the hype immediately died.
Google pitches Wave as “a live, shared space on the web where people can discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.” We played with it for 5 minutes, enjoyed typing over what our buddy wrote, figured out how to live doodle on important documents (penises everywhere!), and then became immediately overwhelmed by mass glitchy-ness and abandoned it.
Today, in an effort to reinvigorate that initial hype, Google announced, via its massive annual “Google I/O” conference in San Francisco, that a new and improved Google Wave will now be available to everyone, no invites necessary. As if Wave hadn’t lost its luster all by itself months ago, now even the sexy exclusivity is gone! The updated version includes a handy read-only format, sends you email notifications when your “wave” has been changed by someone that you’re “waving” with, and allows you to edit the people you invite to “surf” on your “wave” [Full disclosure: We may have made up this lingo.]
Still lost? There’s a brief School-House-Rock-looking instructional video in their “About” section that’s worth a watch, if only to appreciate the quality animation of one of the largest technology corporations in the universe.
As of today, Google has a long way to go to prove Wave’s usefulness to the people. But at least now we can putter around en mass making frustrated noises as our file–which we’re going to share with our innovative, multimedia savvy, online collaborators, and is definitely not a Facebook photo–fails to upload, again.
Google is on top of one thing however, they’ve already got their very own Fail Whale on lock. Their very real error message: “Surfs out, dude. Google Wave is down for maintenance. Time to chillax.”