Since Google Wave’s unveiling in May, it was quite interesting to try to figure out heads or tails of how the application will be received once it’s released. And now, we are inching closer and closer to when it opens for the general public. Closed Beta testing has been open for a few chosen developers who have been actively providing feedback on Google products. Will Wave be able to create a tsunami upon its release?
So what is Wave?
Wave, in the word of its co-creator, Lars Rasmussen:
“Here’s how it works: In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. It’s concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content — it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use “playback” to rewind the wave and see how it evolved.”
Wave’s Engulfing The Islands of Sharepoint & Lotus
Given that we trust Google to provide us with intuitive user interfaces within a very low learning curve, its entry into the corporate world will be quite smooth and exponential - if we only consider those two facets - more about that later on.
The threat it poses is probably the greatest to IBM and Microsoft’s collaborative Business software. Combined with the other Google services and its source nature, it promises to take cloud computing and social networking to the next level.
Some of the features that excite us the most:
- Switch seamlessly between IM and email: There are many times in which you are faced by a worker who doesn’t want to reply immediately to you, by coupling IM and Email you will be able to catch those people online and have a record of the conversation in one application.
- Play back a conversation: Business correspondence tends to evolve and involve new people all the time, what is sad is that certain parts of the conversation get lost or truncated. Having the ability to play back the entire conversation as it happened will definitely be a game changer.
- Share a conversation across different platforms: Want to share it with your Gtalk buddies? Post it on Facebook or your blog? It will be so simplified and will include its own embedded API customizations that will make the ability to move from collaboration and creation to final product and presentation much more efficient.
So Is It All Brisk And Blue?
Not Really. While the Google team is working hard to make Wave deliver on all of its promises, some of the biggest challenges facing them are issues of privacy and security. Security will specifically be a thorny issue when moving sensitive commercial data into the cloud. Historically, it’s in Google’s DNA to make everything searchable and by doing so circumvent some corporate security policies.
The other issue is that of privacy; am I going to be sharing everything by default? Is it easy to make my conversations private? Can I de-list someone from the conversation? The way Wave works raises a lot of questions when it comes to privacy that will hopefully be ironed out in time for its public release.
Another minor issue is that currently Wave doesn’t integrate with regular e-mail, which could problematic if they don’t figure out a way to fit in the final product.
So until Google manages to address these issues the Wave will not crash the Sharepoint dominance in the corporate world.
So When Can We Dip In?
Wave will not be open for the public until later on this year according to the Google Blog, but you can sign up now to be one of its first users (or testers) by going to http://wave.google.com/ and requesting an invitation.
What are your thoughts about Google Wave? How quickly do you think you will adopt it? and how do you think it will impact your Web usage?