back to article Google boss turns Wave demise into success of sorts

Google boss Eric Schmidt has labelled Wave, which the company just ditched, “a very clever product”. He was speaking to reporters at the Techonomy conference yesterday, just hours after the Mountain View Chocolate Factory confirmed that it was dumping Wave because no one was tinkering with the minimalist and very shaky real- …


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  1. Rob

    Google unseat Facebook!?!

    Shirley Google must realise that won't happen, in the same way that other serach engines haven't really unseated Google. It's a case of get in there first get a userbase and develop for them according to needs, you keep audience and it grows.

    Social networking is a hard nut to crack, how many sites do you really want to sign up to just to stay in contact with friends. MS have pretty much given up on people populating their Live spaces with content so have instead opt'd for agregatting info from your other social networking sites, smart move and probably the way Google should go rather than writing it's own version (if indeed they are doing that).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Google was not the first search engine

      it unseated AltaVista

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        anon is right

        for a while there were many search engines, but after a while, altavista became the google of its day.

        no-one thought anything could ever overtake altavista

    2. L1feless

      I disagree

      Facebook has been getting very shady as of late. Google has always been open and honest in how they use personal data. You may not like what the future has in store but it is a clear path in the direction the Google founder mentions. As for those who say they wont use social media. So long as your friends upload photos of you and tag you by name its a done deal. Based on location, name and quantity of photos eventually accumulated. I have personally deleted my Facebook account but am looking forward to the alternatives which will eventually arise. I can clearly see the benefits of social networks like Facebook (twitter is just not something I'm interested in personally). Whether or not I chose Google's to replace Facebook has yet to be seen.

      1. jake Silver badge


        "So long as your friends upload photos of you and tag you by name its a done deal."

        For small values of friends ...

    3. Rob

      Sorry should have been a bit clearer...

      I used to use Altavista too but I think Google was the first search engine to change the game at that point in history and offer something a little different.

      Facebook is the same, it wasn't the first on the scene as we already had things like Friends-Reunited but Facebook offered something a little different.

      I think the point I was trying to get across (albeit, badly) was both of these channels/platforms now have a huge userbase built from their initial success, no matter what I personally think of them I think it would be hard to shift the momentum of that userbase and harder because of the social networking issue. It takes a couple of friends to be brave and move to a new social networking platform and convince all of their mates and their mate's mates to shift too.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Who needs a title?

    and this article highlights why I NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER will use social media and networking.

    Why on earth would I want my data/life on public display?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is also why...

      ...I don't use any Google products directly and don't have a smartphone, and probably never will. Should Scroogle go away, I don't really know what will take its place but isn't, that's for sure.

      1. Andrew Baines Silver badge

        If scroogle goes

        Use DuckDuckGo.Com

      2. petrosy

        @ grumpy

        Why do you even bother commenting on this article?

        You the type of person that when ask about his opinion on a hypothetical Mr X..

        "Well I have never met Mr X or even know if he exists... but if you ask he is...blah blah blah!"

    2. jake Silver badge

      "Why on earth would I want my data/life on public display?"


      My friends & family have had access to a server that does email, "instant messaging", file transfer (picture sharing, for the most part), and online-publishing for around thirty years[1]. None of it is in google-space, and all of the data is under the personal control of whoever generated that data.

      It ain't exactly rocket science. Never has been.

      [1] Started out in Fido-space, moved to UUCP, then TCP/IP ...

    3. Alan Bourke

      Why not try

      just not putting anything private or confidential on social media sites? Works for me.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We celebrate our failures"

    Except when you pretend they weren't failures, like the online store for flogging Nexus Ones...

  4. RainForestGuppy

    Is this a case of....

    Trying to convince people that they want a more complex, feature rich system, when what people really want is simplicity.

    Don't get me wrong, the technology in wave was fantastic, but in a world which has just had it's 20 billionth tweet it would appear that less is more.

    I think that this can also be demonstrated by the sheer number of txts that are still sent, compared to the number of people who use video calls on their mobiles.

    1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge


      20 billionth tweet? Or the first tweet, for the 20 billionth time? How would we tell?

      I have been part of, and very active in, various on-line communities since 1984 (yes, I'm very old), and the one I really, *really* don't grok is Twitter. Still, it seems to be passingly popular with some people, so more power to them.


  5. Paul Williams
    Thumb Down

    FWIW I agree with him

    Some of the most successful things ever invented have been because someone, somewhere, took a risk, and by standing on the shoulders of failed predecessors.

    Its a shame that such an approach becomes increasing difficult now, thanks to companies keeping one eye on their share price and another on sneering articles like this one...

    1. I didn't do IT.

      Re: Standing on the shoulders

      "Its a shame that such an approach becomes increasing difficult now, thanks to companies keeping one eye on their share price and another on sneering articles like this one..."

      I thought it was because the failed companies are bought up by patent shill companies for pennies in the hope that someone, somewhere else will figure out how to do something even only superficially similar and then sue them into non-existance at the first chance...

      Simply CAN NOT see why people aren't lining up to be the first few shot down...

  6. The BigYin


    "There was five exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003,"

    Probably. And most of that data was unique and precious. Today we get 4.99 exabytes of regurgitated, manipulated, distorted and duplicated vacuous bullcrap (this post adding to that total) every two days!

    There is probably more value in one essay from Aristotle than there is in the sum total of most blogs that are spewed forth every day.

    1. Bilgepipe

      Answers on a blog comment, please

      Which is more valuable, the Diary of Samuel Peyps or some anonymous net-tards Twitter feed?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. alex 61

    great idea

    i actually really liked google wave. but the whole thing lost momentum. all the campaign / release timings were just wrong.

    they should have launched after a month or so from the moment they went public.. and not let users linger for invites for months and months.

    people got fed up of waiting. this is what happened with me and my friends anyway.. a few of us had it and noone to use it with..

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. lglethal Silver badge

    You have got to be f%&kin kidding me...

    "People will find it's very useful to have devices that remember what you want to do, because you forgot ... "

    Oh im sorry Google i forgot that i want a device to remember everything that i forgot because naturally i forget everything thats important for me to do. I only remember the unimportant stuff like remembering not to click on google ads, not to use google search and to criticise Eric Schmidt at every available opportunity...

    Eric Schmidt is quickly beginning to make Bill Gates and Steve Jobs look like angels. They just wanted to control competition and our purchases, Eric Shcmidt wants to control everything we do... Guess which one im more worried about!!!

  10. Gareth.

    To be fair...

    I actually agree with Schmidt's reasoning that Google is a company that is prepared to invest in new stuff (although Wave wasn't really new, it was just shite) and accepts that some / most of those projects will fail miserably and never be seen again.

    If it wasn't for that level of risk taking then we'd not have had some of the Google products I love to use, such as Android, Google Maps with Street View, Chrome, etc...

    OK, the language he used was vomit-inducing, but what do you expect...? He's American and a high powered businessman working in IT - Ballmer and Jobs are just as bad, if not worse, than Schmidt at this kind of thing. Jobs' recent press conference about the new iPhone and how Apple were inventing video conference calls was more galling than Schmidt's comments about Wave. Pretty much everything that Ballmer says is cring-worthy to the extreme.

    Gotta agree with your comment about Buzz only being used by millions of people because it had been snuck into GMail - it loads in my browser but I never ever use it because if I did want to use IM, I'd use whatever everybody else is using (invariably MSN)... Google are playing catch-up with Buzz, but are still losing the game. Can't blame Schmidt for trying to put a spin on it though, even if none of us are convinced.


  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In a world ...

    So: "In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it."

    Dangerous for who? ... ah, I see: dangerous for Governments.

    Otherwise it'd be "people would demand it".

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Big Brother

      See comment below for title

      fsck governments!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Wait a min, I think I've read this before...

      So according to Herr Schmidt, there must be a way to identify absolutely everyone. Apocalypse, mark of the beast... anyone?

  12. Jonjonz
    Jobs Horns

    Douche Bag missed his decade

    This traitor to humanity missed his decade, he should have been around in Germany in the 40's he would have fit right in, could have been Goebles right hand boy.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Aaaand ...

      ... thread is over. A Godwinner is you!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        that's only for the mindless twats these days.

  13. Robin

    You what?

    "In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it."

    Isn't that the electronic version of a head mounted barcode? Scary stuff.

  14. It Wasn't Me, I Swear.

    In a world of asynchronous threats.

    Does he mean Asymmetric?

    "Governments will demand it" - and Google will begrudgingly comply, hey Eric?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He was

      probably thinking Geosynchronous.

  15. Renato

    The future

    "But to Schmidt at least, 'true transparency and no anonymity' is the future."

    I would like to know if Mr. Schmidt is going to be transparent regarding his life, including banking details etc etc. Yeah, right.

    "True transparency" for those who don't have the money and/or power not to be.

    Mine's with what else in pocket? 1984, shirley.

  16. Paul 87


    Maybe they missed the fact that the reason it was unsuccessful was you couldn't run it in the browser of your choice without an instrusive "plug in". No way did I want to switch to Google Chrome or use the Chrome plug in just to get this to work.

    Which is a shame really as it was an ideal method for play by internet RPG's

  17. Anonymous Coward


    I've used GMail for years now and thought Wave looked great, but I don't remember seeing any invites for it. I've also just done a straw poll at work (IT training company) and nobody here has ever received an invite for it. Wonder if the reason for its failure could be that they didn't really tell enough people about it?

  18. Not Elvis


    To the last comment from Our esteemed Google Leader


    1. TrinityX
      Big Brother


      Scary bloke. But it's possible to worry too much. e.g. Human eye witnesses are reliably crap, and currently most electronic ones are too. You could probably construct a reliable model of how someone looks with a good deal fewer than 14 pictures... but in a world of billions, how useful is that going to be? Before you factor in the effects of powercuts etc.

      What worries me most is his assumption that attempting this kind of cataloguing of the human race, because "governments will demand it", is somehow right and good. Though it explains a lot about Google's involvement with China.

      *resisting a Godwin's Law moment*

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @"Invites" people

    I'm sorry if those that didn't get invites feel left out, but if you want you can just directly email google all your personal information.

    I think the invites system was intended so that google could not only draw up a network of people that you know on wave, but also a list of people that you just know. I got invited, didn't get a choice, and once that was done, google could draw a nice little line between my email address and the guy that invited me.

  20. Justin Clements


    If this statement from Google doesn't creep you out, nothing will. Any reason why Google are building face recognition? Its one thing to put your information out there, it's another thing for Google to start analysing it to make money from it:

    >>>"We can predict where you are going to go," he said.

    >>>"Show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are. You think you don't have 14 photos of yourself on the internet? You've got Facebook photos! People will find it's very useful to have devices that remember what you want to do, because you forgot ... But society isn't ready for questions that will be raised as result of user-generated content."

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've read a couple of articles on Google Wave today, and I still have no idea what Wave is and why anyone would use it. Sounds like these ‘clever’ inventions are in the Charlie & the Chocolate Factory mould.

  22. BRYN

    I liked Google wave

    And ~I am sad to hear of its demise.

    Does anybody have a spare invite for its funeral?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Well, I have this.

      It's close enough, really. Kin was also using the Social Media buzzword, even.

  23. Bod

    Poor take up

    I don't understand why they left it invite only and then grumble that it had poor take up!

    Most of us never got to see whether it was any good or not.

  24. heyrick Silver badge

    Interesting insight into the mind behind the company.

    Really, it's like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, isn't it?

    "Our policy is we try things" - nothing wrong with that, some of the big recent web 'enhancements' have been born by people trying new ideas (and I use scare quotes because ChatRoulette and Twitter were surely people knocking together something and dropping it online to see if anybody bites). However, "We celebrate our failures" is just bizarre. Are there plaques on the wall in The Chocolate Factory that read Fail, Fail, Epic Fail, Fail? I doubt it. When things don't work, they should be quietly withdrawn and disposed of in an ecological manner (like shredded and spread across a field as all good manure is). I would nominate "the new look YouTube".

    If you want to see "a very clever product", look at Amazon. Business ethic aside, it is clear, it is easy, it is secure (they deal with payments to third party vendors themselves, not passing the buck to third-party shysters like a certain not-terribly-reputable on-line auction house. Amazon is just too damn simple, too damn good at predicting what you might want. My wishlist far outweights my paycheque! THAT is a very clever product.

    Google wants to upsurp Facebook? Yes please, if only to see the back of Larry. But Google might want to take note from MySpace. Did Murdoch's mob cock it up, or was it going down the S-bend already?

    I've had some small dealings with Buzz as a part of my YouTube account which magically created a Google account. My "real name" is "Rick WantsSomeBloodyPrivacy" and my current location is "OverThere, Earth". Funny thing is, I never asked for all of this lot to be shared as a matter of course. Since Google as so keen on sharing, could I sign their support email address to all the pervy mailing lists I can find? It's auto-opt-in, you see...

    Skip the exabytes bollocks. It is like my mother's comparisons with The Library Of Congress versus the Internet. If I take a crap and video it, we're looking at many magabytes of information, depending on codec and bitrate. I have someplace a CD-ROM with a load of Project Guttenberg books in ASCII format, added together would be less than a video of me taking a dump. In fact, that archive apparently contains the entire works of William Shakespeare within it. All of the pretentious twaddle of the great Bard, classics such as Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, various Bronté sisters, Mary Shelley... or me, on the bog. Why the obsession with toiletry functions? Easy. Information != Knowledge. There is knowledge and history in books. The majorty of tweets and blogs (yes, including my own...) aren't fit to be printed on toilet paper to be flushed away along side the number 2. Thus, the statistic about five exabytes is simply not relevant. Oh, and until 2003 it was not common for people to HAVE a means of spewing their information to the world. In the 16th century ladies danced and peasants toiled, and both spoke, if not to each other. What's different now is all of this can be dumped on YouTube. Throughout human history, events have happened but only recently have we had the technology to stick a camera on every street corner to fill harddiscs with images nobody will ever look at.

    "People aren't ready for the technology revolution that's going to happen to them" - like the Puritans of old and the Luddites of slightly-less-old, people generally aren't ready for any big change. There is, perhaps, a sense of self-preservation built into this attitude. We may argue over climate change and who causes it, we may argue over whether or not mobile phones and genetic modification aren't ultimately harmful, but the truth is the evidence on both sides is both shakey and full of obvious unscientific bias. But, hey, screw the truth and let's plough ahead with all this really cool technology. Perhaps the best example of this is newkewler weapons. Awesome destructiveness sadly unleashed twice upon the Japanese (nobody deserves that), followed by years of blowing up deserts and small pacific islands with increasingly greater weapons. But it was apparent pretty soon how powerful these things are, and now we're stuck in a situation where nobody will admit to how many of these weapons actually exist or where they're stockpiled, suffice to say the ultimate deterrent is in place, for if one country should attack in this manner, they will be attacked in return. There will be no winner. This was evident back in the days of Dr. Strangelove, updated for the '80s crowd in WarGames, yet until recent bans on testing, bigger and better weapons were built. For God's sake, using one in hostility could all but signal the demise of our species, so why the bloody hell make a bigger one? The Luddites were wrong about many things, but about some things they were actually right. Call them "Deniers" if you will, but let history be the judge, not you.

    "We can predict where you are going to go" - really? Asides from going to work, I don't tend to plan my life out that well. Have fun predicting.

    "Show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are. You think you don't have 14 photos of yourself on the internet? You've got Facebook photos!" - you numpties! You really need 14 photos of me to tell me who I am? How about the one tagged "Rick" that's a picture of Haruhi Suzumiya. Will that do? Seriously though, with tags and descriptions, needing 14 photos is a pretty poor average. I'm not even sure if I have 14 photos of me on my blog (I prefer to be behind the camera), but you really shouldn't need that many.

    "People will find it's very useful to have devices that remember what you want to do, because you forgot ..." - yeah, it's an odd book with dates and times printed in it. I would call it an "agenda", but it seems these days agendas are supposed to be hidden...

    "But society isn't ready for questions that will be raised as result of user-generated content." - what you mean is you're not ready for the questions that society will want to ask YOU.

    "true transparency and no anonymity" - never existed except in the minds of the naïve. This is why I'm not a tin-foil-wearing Google-phobe. I know I'm not anonymous, I know I'm being watched by a big machine with nothing better to do. I know the pointless blatherinfgs that I spew are neatly indexed for retrieval for ever and ever (try clicking my user ID link to the left, you'll see all I've posted here). The simple answer is not to post all sorts of personal stuff then suffer bladder failure when you realise what you've done, the simple answer is to post only stuff that you feel comfortable posting, and NEVER EVER naked or semi naked pictures or pictures of you wasted/high/puking 'cos that'll be a whole bucket of Fail if ten years from now a prospective new boss whose done his homework slaps printouts on the table and says "explain" while you writhe and struggle to remember an event so amazing you just had to dump it on the internet. Well, I guess it was the greatest thing ever at the time, but now... oh dear.

    "it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you" - I am identified by my passport / ID card, which is not foolproof but is a fair rigamarole to get sorted out, thus it is taken to be authentic enough. There is no such thing as a foolproof means of identification, and one might validly surmise human attitudes are such that when moving away from paper based documentation (which can be challenged) to electronic documentation (which is all too often just 'assumed' to be correct), that the ability for people to AUTHENTICATE somebody's identity is increasingly difficult. You see, nobody gives a toss about my identification. I could, on a rainy day, if I felt so inclined, attempt to knock up a passport identifying myself as Yuki Nagato. It would be a stupid official that did not recognise it as being a bogus form of ID, and that's what it is supposed to be about. Not what form of identification I am carrying, but how trustworthy that identification is. I think a recent Microsoft trust issue (where IE has a trust certificate for Microsoft but Firefox doesn't) brilliantly demonstrates why we really need to stop thinking electronic for our means of identification. Trust is too easily misplaced in digital form. Computers don't have eyebrows to raise, or the ability to "suspect".

    "We need a [verified] name service for people." - really? Why. Explain. I am me, and if it is something of importance, I will turn up in person. If that isn't sufficient, FOAD.

    "Governments will demand it." - somehow I doubt this. They'll all want the latest toy, no doubt, but on their own terms. Only a very very stupid-ass piece-of-crap sorry excuse of a pathetic waste of taxpayer cash proporting to be a "government" would willingly hand over mass chunks of personal data about its populace to the governments of foreign nations, or companies on foreign soil that are thus obliged to provide this data for examination. Like, oh, I dunno, New Labour? Probably the current lot too as not a lot has changed really.

    And yes, Google-fans, I'm happy insulting "New Labour", just as I would be perfectly willing to call Tony Blair "Bush's lap-puppy" to his *face*. He was. I would, however, be less willing to tell Gordon Brown what I think of him, those sorts of words really shouldn't be said in public unless you're a(n in)famous TV chef...

    My final paragraph is a personal apology to the El Reg commentator that didn't like my long rambling posts. Oops! Sorry... but this is how I am. If you think this is bad, you wanna see the chaos/clutter in my mind. ;-)

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Interesting insight into the mind behind the company.


  25. Anonymous Coward


    >People aren't ready for the technology revolution that's going to happen to them.

    The seed for the technological singularity is growing in google's datacenter and he knows it.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On what appears to have been relegated to the status of side note

    I did think it was a very clever product indeed, although rough around the edges. I was using it on a number of projects with far-flung friends and family... will be interesting to see how well E-mail fills the void once we have to move back over.

  27. blackworx

    Holeeeee shit

    The man that puts the Borg in Google

  28. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Do Androids Dream .... in Alien Streams with XSSXXXX .

    "People aren't ready for the technology revolution that's going to happen to them."

    And Google Man Management is, Meneer Schmidt? With an Advancing Alien Android Programming for Pinging Dynasties?

    Wow, a Transparent Global Offering Floated into the Virtual Market Place in CyberSpace. One of those Future and Derivative things for Venture Capital Loding/Fuelling.

    Crazy Gambles are always the Sanest of Sure Fire Bets. Surely everyone knows that.

    "The seed for the technological singularity is growing in google's datacenter and he knows it." .... Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 6th August 2010 09:02 GMT

    I concur, and would further wonder at what would be the next logical step whenever one has access to and power of transmission of vital virulent viral information, which cascades disruption upon disruption to generate flood flow and tsunami wave of sensitive intelligence leakage?


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