Was Google Wave over-hyped in a perfect marketing storm?
by Alan Eggleston, writer and editor
This week like a well primed sports stadium full of stoked fans, we all dutifully participated in the Google Wave. Without fully understanding it, without even knowing if we would be able to use it, we wanted it. The more we couldn't have it, the more we wanted it. It was the perfect marketing storm, and the same people who brought us the Twitter hype brought us the Wave hype.
I've been teetering like a blind Ninja on the edge of a precipice. I've been reading on tech and geek blogs about Wave and its imminent arrival for days, even going to Google to try to learn more about it. Nagging at the back of my mind has been whether I know enough people who will use it to make it worthwhile to try. And since I don't use gmail or the calendar or the Google immediate messaging service, does this make any sense? But with all the gotta-have hype, dammit I WANTED it.
On Tuesday I did a Google search and there was a mysterious "10^ 100" coded link below the seach window. I was too busy on a client issue to explore it at the time, but it sure was intriguing. When I went back later, it was gone. Was it a secret invitation to Wave? Did I miss my chance? It nags at me like a free-offer coupon.
Finally, Wednesday came, and the blogs and Twitter were alive with news that Google's invitations to try Wave were going out. The geek "Haves" hyped that they had received theirs. Opportunists began selling the extras they received to share with friends on eBay. Scammers offered extras they didn't really have on Twitter in exchange for following them and retweeting the message -- they did countdowns! Facebook messages popped up with friends begging for invites. I checked my e-mail to see if I'd received anything from Google or anyone else. No luck. And still that nagging question, do I really NEED this thing? I sure WANT it.
I haven't felt this dejected since failing to nab a Nintendo Wii that first year for my daughter's Christmas. The ironic thing is, I still don't know enough people who have it to use it effectively if I did get it. It's the fault of those frakking marketers and bloggers for blowing this out of proportion. It's still just a test.
I could apply for an invitation at Google ... and wait. A friend has gone that route, and I wish him well. He has the same unrequieted desire I've had. But I refuse to wait in line for something I'm not even convinced I need or will use once I have it.
This is the case of the overhyped application. The technology media has gotten on board and whipped interest into unwarranted frenzy, and I disrespect them for it. I played along unwillingly and I refuse to go along anymore.
I said sarcastically that in retribution I was going to do my searches on Bing, yahoo!, and Alta Vista. I'm not even a drop in Google Search's bucket! Some day Google will open Wave up to us Have-nots, and maybe in retrospect we'll have a better sense whether it really makes sense to use -- sans the hype.