I was anxiously waiting for a Google Wave invitation. It took a while but I finally got one and then invited several people I talk to regularly. They joined quickly, and now we are just stuck.
It is not Google Wave’s fault. Here is what I see as the problem.
They want to replace email, not integrate with it. This is a very big goal and not unthinkable. However, it is going to be s..l..o..w.. going.
If they did not want to replace email, they could have made the tool a collaboration tool and have an easy feature that sends an email that notifies you every day of the new updates, etc. However, because they want to replace email, they are not going to put this in – or make it easy, at least.
Here is the best illustration of what I mean. I keep email open all day and check it constantly. I am used to doing this, and it does not seem to be odd in any way. I doubt it is for you either.
However, I do not keep twitter and other things open as I do not want a bunch of interruptions all day long – trust me, email is enough.
Google wave only works (for a novice user at least) if you keep it open like email. And you are not going to invest your attention in a new, open application on your computer if you only have a few people in your contact list and they are still emailing you mostly.
For Google Wave to catch on, there have to be more engagement for new users. Sure, if you have friends that enjoy new technology you are going to get moving faster with it, but for the casual user it is going to take a long time to migrate from the comfort of current email to the Google Wave environment.
I do think it is better than email and I would be happy to use it in place of email. But since everyone has email and few people have Google Wave (and many of those set up accounts but do not check them regularly) then there is an adoption issue. This might be a simple, step by step guide to fully using Google Wave after sign up.
I can see a day where email will be for light touches and people I do not know, and Google Wave becomes the place I communicate with everyone I really know. However, until more than a couple of those people start using it – I am just looking at a group of messages I wrote and that went unanswered.