The Downside to Google’s Product Release Model
With every new product, Google first opens it to a small group of developers to work out the kinks. Then the product is handed off to a small group of influencers who generate buzz and the final step is a broad audience release. This model worked with such online staples as Gmail and Docs. Mainly because both web services could work cross platform — you could send and receive e-mails to and from your Gmail account to other services and Docs could work with Microsoft Office.
Google engineers asked: why should Google Wave be any different? Collaboration and single party platform. Google Wave is powered by collaboration and does not work with other platforms. The product is only as interesting as the amount of people you have to share it with. So those with only a handful of invitations you might be able to chat with a few of buddies — not with everyone you might want to Wave with.
Google failed to see the problem with their traditional product release model with Google Wave. Those top sets of influencers were not able to effectively use Google Wave because it requires others to have Wave. While it is essential to have developers work out the kinks to make a functional product, Google might have been better off of skipping the influencer step and opening it to the greater audience.
One of the most criticized features about Google Wave is, who do I Wave with? In this case, Google could have skipped over their tried and true product release model to make the product accessible for everyone. This way those early adopters can completely immerse themselves in the product — not be forced to wait until everyone else is allowed into the community.