MoreNotesToSelf

Technology, Finance, and Life

Google IO Wave Video

Posted by DK on May 29, 2009

Google continues to differentiate with Wave, a new protocol that combines different modes of communication and collaboration into a single, integrated system. If you have an interest in this type of stuff, you should definitely watch the keynote video below to get a better idea of what Wave can do. The demo is on the long side, but trust me, it’s cool. Be sure to catch the simultaneous translation feature at the end. It may destroy international romance by taking the mystery out of non-verbal communication! (“I thought those were smoldering looks of passion, but it was just indigestion! This guy is so boring…”)

Anyway, while Wave won’t be available until the end of the year (and who knows how easy it will be to get an account when the service goes live), the extensibility of the service may change how we interact with the Web (no hyperbole intended). In some ways, I consider Wave the next generation of Posterous (no offense to the Posterous guys, I love this service!). Posterous makes it easy to syndicate content via email. It’s a one-way, one-to-many type of service (I understand comments allow readers to respond to posts, and email alerts you to when comments are made, but the syndication is one way). Wave, on the other hand, is a two-way, many-to-many type of service. The keynote demo makes it clear that Wave can be extended to blogs, webpages, Twitter, etc., where changes can be viewed instantaneously anywhere (in the Wave client, the blog page, on Twitter, etc.). Accountable collaboration (enabled by the “playback” feature) kicks it up a notch. If any of the Posterous guys read this, I’d be interested in your thoughts.

From a business point of view, Wave buttresses Google’s differentiation in a powerful way. Google’s Internet innovation is obvious, but it has been criticized for poor integration of its different properties. Wave could bind Google’s ecosystem together more tightly while also offering a gateway into other non-Google services (e.g. Twitter). Furthermore, as the market leader, the benefits of any growth in data capture, search, or advertising will likely accrue to Google. It’s a classic example of the market leader increasing the size of the market. And while privacy and anti-trust advocates are increasingly waving red flags, Google’s “self-serving altruism” continues to shape our interaction with the Web.

I imagine some will have difficulty with Wave’s usage model. After all, constraints often help us keep track of things in our heads. Some will prefer to keep their web interactions disaggregated into email, blogging, chatting, twittering, etc. Nevertheless, the Wave’s easy collaboration, infrastructure control (through its federation model), and extensibility is pretty compelling.

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