Could Google WAVE goodbye to twitter?

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.

Related posts: Google WAVE | Releasing a wave of possabilities

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Could Google WAVE goodbye to twitter?

The culture of free!

The world of IT is a relatively fast moving one. New trends and technology come thick and fast, and with every new trend or technology there follows a host of new terms, phrases, acronyms, and of buzz words.
One term that I have heard cropping up more and more lately, is “the culture of free”. It’s fairly easy to guess what this term might relates to, but why has it started to crop up now, and is a ‘culture of free’ a good thing, or could it have a downside?
While today’s internet generation may not remember, there was a time when you had to purchase browser software. Then one day someone came up with the idea of giving it away free, and a culture was born, and it didn’t stop at software, web based services (file sharing, storage, instant messaging, email and social networks) soon followed suit, and more recently data owner’s have started to share their data freely too.
There is even a ‘Culture of Free movement’, founded by Lawrence Lessig (a lecturer at Stanford University and author of ‘Free Culture’. The movement which is often associated with Creative Commons, promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works, using the Internet as well as other media. Lessig and his followers object to overly restrictive copyright laws, often completely rejecting the concepts of copyright and intellectual property altogether, claiming it creates a “permission culture”. Others, most prominently Andrew Keen, (an academic, author and technologist) criticizes the ‘Free Culture’ ideals, referring to them instead as the ‘Cult of the Amateur’.
When you think about it, the internet is fundamentally built on a culture of free, with all of its knowledge freely available, but blogger Leo Babauta, points out – we must distinguish between “free” as in you don’t have to pay for it, and “free” as in you are free to distribute and use the information.
So why would bloggers, photographers, film makers, citizen journalism, musicians, illustrators or authors, use things like creative commons licensing to distribute their work freely? Well they’re working on the premise that reaching a larger audience may bring returns in other ways, whether its through donations, public speaking engagements, lucrative commissioned work or just improving their profile.
Can there really be a downside to free? After all everybody likes getting something for nothing and the people giving it away seem happy. Well I guess the answer to that depends on your point of view. Some would argue that when things are given away freely it erodes their value and others would argue that the ‘culture of free’ is eroding the very skills and standards that we have spend decades building up. buzzword

The culture of free!