It’s that time of year again where everyone goes off on email. Fred Wilson does it here, and MG Siegler does it here. I quote from MG’s article here:

The only real “solution” is to change the way people think about email. It needs to be considered more of a stream than an inbox. That is, it needs to be more like Twitter and less like a to-do list.

As much as everyone hated Google Wave, it was ahead of it’s time in changing how email was used. I quote the aforementioned MG from a TechCrunch article:

Having seen a lengthy demonstration, as ridiculous as it may sound, I have to agree. Wave offers a very sleek and easy way to navigate and participate in communication on the web that makes both email and instant messaging look stale.

So what ultimately drove Wave into the ground? Again, let MG’s own words guide us:

I like to think my own natural usage of a new service is a pretty good barometer of how well it will do. And I’ll be honest, like seemingly everyone else, I wasn’t using Google Wave. But the weird thing is that I wanted to use Google Wave, I just wasn’t presented with a compelling reason to do so. And that’s on Google.

Ultimately whatever solution leads us away from “email hell” will need to be compelling, addictive, and useful. Wave wasn’t all of those. Who will build a service combining all three elements? The Apache Software Foundation has taken over the Google Wave code, perhaps in the hands of an Open Source Community the freshly renamed Apache Wave can succeed where Google failed: making Wave something people want to use.