Google never cease to astonish me with their innovations. They are often criticized these days for being too big. Sometimes they seem to be into simply everything, and big powerful companies tend to scare us. But just when you think they can’t get any bigger, they up their game (again), and bring something out that is truly huge.
In typical Google style, they waited until the second day of the Google Developer Conference in the Moscone Center, San Francisco on May 27 – 28, 2009, to show us there biggest secret, WAVE. I’ve pasted the 1 hour 20 minute keynote video of below (for those of you that may have just woken up from a coma and havn’t seen it).
Google don’t normally make this sort of announcement, this early in a products development, but they have made an exception for WAVE. The announcement has already set the development and tech communities on fire, Youtube simply couldn’t handle demand for streaming the movie on the night of its release, (i had to wait several hours for things to calm down enough to access it), and twitter is still positively buzzing with comments on WAVE (which is a little ironic as WAVE could soon replace many existing communications channels like Twitter).
So what is Google WAVE? It is an entirely new communications model.
The Google Maps team, lead by Lars and Jens Rasmussen, have developed an application to allow people to communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps and other tools, all within a standard browser.
So what makes WAVE different? for a start the whole approach to communication is different. Although unified communications has been around a while, it has always imitated nonelectronic forms of communication, but the Wave team threw away the old rule books and started again from scratch.
Over the past year Twitter has started to changed the way that we think about communications, its faster, its more inclusive (conversations are with groups rather than individuals), more accessible (searchable) , its far more personal and its creating new collaborative communities. WAVE is likely to take this to a new level, no longer are users limited to 140 characters, no longer do they have to wait until a reply is complete (you see them as they’re typed) no longer do you have to link to photos, videos, blog posts, you can include them all in a wave, and collaborate on them in real time.
Unlimited by the old rules of communication, WAVE is almost bound to change the way we communicate, but are businesses ready to make the change? Are our bosses ready to accept that online collaboration and communication can save more time than it costs, are corporations ready to take the leaps of faith required to trust employees enough to express opinions freely, do IT departments have the resources to keep up to date and can we find solutions to all the legal issues that this might raise, are the laws even capable of being applied to this kind of technology.
Like all waves, this WAVE is likely to gather speed and momentum before it reaches its full height and comes crashing down.