Did anyone watch the demo video from Google Australia? A number of key members from Google Maps set out to address the task of communication and collaboration. Lars and Jens Rasmussen decided now that Gmaps is a killer, mash-up enabled web app, it’s time to design the Next Big Thing. Enter Google Wave, it is the be all end all paradigm shifting cloud application of all time. It combines all the breathless handwaving and fits of pique that Web 2.0 encompassed 5 years ago. I consider Web 2.0 to have really started the Summer of 2004 with some blogging and podcasting efforts going on and slow but widespread adoption of RSS publishing and subscribing. So first I’ll give you the big link to the video of the demo by Lars Rasmussen and Company:
It is 90 minutes long. It is full of every litte UI tweak and webapp nicety along with rip-roaring collaboration functionality examples and “possible uses” for Google Wave. If you cannot or will not watch a 90 minute video just let me say pictures do speak louder than words. I would have to write a 1,000 page manual to describe everything that’s included in Google Wave. First let’s start off the list of what Google Wave is ‘like’.
It’s like email. You can send and receive messages with a desktop software client. It’s like Chat, you can chat live with anyone who is also on Google Wave. It’s like webmail in that you can also run it without a client and see the same data store. It’s like social bookmarking, you find something you copy it, you keep it, you annotate it, you share it. It’s like picture sharing websites, you take a picture, you upload it, you annotate it, you tag it, you share it. It’s like video sharing websites, same thing as before, upload, annotate, tag, share. It’s like WebEx where you give a presentation, everyone can see the desktp presentation as you give it and comment on it through a chat back-channel. It’s like Sharepoint where you can check-in, check-out documents, revise them, see the revisions and share them with others. It’s like word processor, it has spell checking enabled live as you type. It can even translate into other languages for you on the fly. It’s like all those Web 2.0 mash-ups where you take parts from one webapp and combine them with another so you can have Twitter embedded within your Google Waves. There are no documents as such only text streams associated with authors, editors, recipients, etc. You create waves, you share waves, you store waves, you edit waves, you embed waves, you mash-up waves. One really compelling example given towards the end is using Waves as something like a Content Managements System where mulitple authors work, comment, revise a single text document (a wave) and then collapse it down into a single new revision that get’s shared out until a full document, fully edited is the final product. Whether that be a software spec, user manual or website article doesn’t matter the collaboration mechanism is the same.
So that’s the gratuitous list of what I think Google Wave is. There is some question as to whether Gmail, Google Docs & Spreadsheets will go away in favor of this new protocol and architecture. Management at Google have indicated it is not the case, but that the current Google suite would adopt Google Wave like functionality. I think the collaboration capability would pump-up the volume on the Cloud based software suite. Microsoft will have to further address something like this being made freely available or even leaseable for private business like Gmail is today. And thinking even farther ahead for Universities using Course Management Systems today,… There’s a lot of functionality in Google Wave that is duplicated in 90% of pay for, fully licensed software for Content Management Systems. Any University already using Gmail for student email and wanting to dip their toes into Course Management Systems should consider Google Wave as a possibility. Better yet, any company that repackages and leverages Google Wave in a new Course Management System would likely compete very heavily with the likes of Microsoft/Blackboard.