At the Google I/O conference this past week, Google announced that Google Wave, once touted as a tool that would revolutionize the way we communicate on the Internet, would be available and open to anyone who wanted to use it now, instead of the private beta testers who had been using the service (and let’s be clear, anyone who wanted in pretty much got in thanks to the sheer number of invites that were given out). Google shortly thereafter made Google Wave available to people using Google Apps for their domain as well.
This does beg the question though: is anyone still using Google Wave aside from die-hard Google fans and developers looking for a good way to collaborate? Google Wave was a lot of fanfare and hype, and while I think the tool itself is remarkably useful and still has a world of potential, it simply doesn’t have the user-base or the user-education of the masses for wide adoption.
In the end, it’s not Google’s fault for building a tool that people don’t want to use, it’s Google’s fault for building a tool that people don’t understand can be applicable to the things they want to do, and for not educating them otherwise or integrating Wave features with tools people already know and love, like GMail.
Still, with Google Wave open to the world, maybe Google is making a thrust to try that education, and without the beta tag on it, they may be looking for a way to start rolling in some of Wave’s features into their existing platforms and services. It would be a good idea.