Google announced yesterday a new offering called Google Wave. There is an excellent article at TechChrunch that gives a complete overview. All I can say is: THIS IS HUGE PEOPLE. The concept of Google Wave, the underlying idea is exactly the right step that the web and the internet needs to take. It’s a combination of Email, Instant Messaging, Twitter, Transparency, Collaboration, Wiki, Media sharing, and so much more. Oh, and it’s an Open API and Open Source to boot.
If you’ve ever talked tech with me in the last three years and we’ve had the discussion about what is next in technology, then we’ve had a very similar discussion about the concepts behind Google Wave. I’m not claiming Google has once again stolen my idea, but what I will claim is that there clearly is a need for this type of product that I saw and google saw and others saw as well.
Two things in particular I want to call your attention to that make Google Wave a huge idea:
1). Adhoc groups… What adhoc grouping really does for you is to let people create internet groups as easily as they create real world groups. Think of it this way… when you walk into your work place break room and two other people walk in and the three of you start talking, you have created a group. It’s fast in the real world, why can it not be like that in the internet world? For most of the internet when you want to form a group and start working together there’s a fairly large investment in creating the meta systems the group needs: setting up a mailing list, setting up forums, setting up a media store, setting up a user database, etc etc. It’s a pain in the ass really, and it make setting up a group fairly non-trivial. To some degree, Yahoo Groups and Google Groups automates a lot of that, but then you still have to go through the effort of getting people to join etc.
What Google Wave does is to make group creation simple and almost instantaneous. Basically, you create a group by dragging a bunch of contacts together and off you go. You can immediately begin discussion, expand the group, whatever. Additionally, if you need other tools for that group like a map or a document or some other thing, you can add a widget or a robot to participate in that group and boom, you have more functionality to fill the groups need.
2) The second feature that is huge for me is transparency. Transparency is the notion behind Twitter in that you broadcast snippets of your activities out to the world and everyone can see what you are doing. This is the beginning of transparency though. To take it further you need to automate transparency such that as you do things, they automatically are published. Of course, this brings up privacy concerns, but I think there are simple ways to solve this.
I know that Wave has some level of transparency, but it’s still to early to tell how much. I suspect that even if this is an opt in version of transparency, like Twitter, that soon there will be robots and widgets (the extensions to Wave) that will automate a lot of this functionality.
The point is, though, that transparecny can be a huge social tool… but more importantly it could be a huge business tool. And the company that sees this is going to get a huge edge over the company that does not.
Anyways, that’s my thoughts on Google Wave. You should efinately check it out.