August 5, 2010
Wave Goodbye to Google Wave, and Google Calculates The Number of Books In The World
Google formally announced the demise of Wave yesterday. The reason is that Wave had picked up hardly any traction from users. So what was Wave? It was a product that allowed people to communicate and collaborate in real time, sort of like chat, email, and document management all rolled up into one. I hadn't used Wave personally. Although I had read descriptions of it when it appeared in beta, I hadn't any clear idea behind the concept. Apparently, I wasn't alone. Much of the commentary on the announcement echoed that point and others. Wave was slow, the interface was cluttered, and it didn't integrate with the existing technology it was supposed to replace. Google has said that Wave wasn't a total loss. The company plans to integrate the technology that was Wave in other services.
Update: The Harvard Business Reviewapplauds Google's decision to shutter Wave. They appreciate the fact that Google was willing to take risks, recognize failure, and cut is losses. Failure is necessary on the path to innovation. The HBR notes:
Certainly the business world is rife with examples of other firms that keep investing more resources and staff in failing projects in the hopes of a miraculous recovery or simply to avoid the public embarrassment of failure.
Why do I think of, oh, Microsoft, and oh, Zune, or the Kin, though with the latter, MS proved they could cut a loser before it mushroomed into something worse. [End update]
Speaking of Google, the company's official blog states a count for the number of different books in the world as 129,864,880. Really. As they say:
This calculation used an algorithm that combines books information from multiple sources including libraries, WorldCat, national union catalogs and commercial providers. And the actual number of books is always increasing.
The methodology Google used to come up with that number is here. I'm sure there are more unique titles in world beyond that, at least informally. That's a number, though, that likely can't be calculated. [MG]