Google Wave goes public but misses obvious viral opportunity

So Google Wave has opened its doors to the public – yay!

Now you can just create a Wave, and enter anyone’s email address and they will automatically be invited, and signed up for Wave if they don’t already have an account – right?  

Wrong.  If you try you get an unhelpful message telling you that they aren’t a Google Wave user:

 

How Google could miss this completely obvious opportunity to ensure viral adoption of Google Wave?

What should happen is as I described it – from my perspective it should be no different than sending them an email.  From their perspective they should get an email saying that someone wishes to have a Wave conversation with them, and give them the opportunity to easily and transparently sign up for Wave.

If, for whatever reason they don’t want to use the Wave UI, then I guess they should be able to reply and participate in the conversation through email.

Wave is designed to break down the barriers between different means of communication through its plugin architecture (eg. its Twitter support).  How then could Google not see the importance of breaking down the barriers between Wave and the primary communication medium its supposed to replace: Email?

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