I was just thinking of several reasons why Google Wave never caught on with the general public. One reason that stood out for me was, it was damn near impossible to get a Google Wave account in the early days. When Google Wave was first released, it generated a lot hype, but getting a Google Wave invite was similar to having the odds of winning a lottery. I’ve asked many times, but I never got one until a several months later.
There lies the problem. It’s not that my opinion mattered, but there were thousands of others on the same boat that just wanted to use the application. How could an application go viral if you can’t get your hands on them. Facebook and Twitter became popular for many reasons. Access to Facebook and Twitter was never an issue. If you wanted to sign up for either application, it was there for the taking.
I thought restricting access to Google Wave initially was a wrong approach. That strategy might have worked for GMail, but it didn’t for Google Wave. It’s not like Google couldn’t handle the onslaught of people that wanted to use the application. Google has never had a problem scaling applications.
I’m sure there are many reasons why Google Wave never caught on, but not having access to the application early on didn’t help either.