"What might email look like if it was invented today?" is the question Lars Rasmussen asked a room full of developers at the 2009 Google I/O right before taking everyone on a tour of Google Wave. It couldn't be more clear from Vic Gundotra's introduction of the developer preview during the Day 2 keynote this was something Google expected to take off and be a big deal. Unfortunately, that excitement never grew into a successful product.
On August 4th 2010, a year and a half after Wave had been made official, Google announced there would be no more development on the project and everyone had a year to either migrate their projects or use the Wave source to build their own project. Lars left Google two months later to work for Facebook until two months ago, and it would take Google ten months to spin what they had learned from Wave into what we now know as Google+.
For those interested in a trip down memory lane, here's the keynote video where Wave Beta was shown off to the world.
It's cool to see how far Google has come since this video, both in presentation style and the lessons learned in building a social network. Like Google Wave, you can't throw a stick without hitting someone telling the world Google+ is a failure well before google is ready to call it quits. Unlike Google Wave, there's a massive thriving community of users on Google+ that the company seems dedicated to listening to and developing for.