Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Is Google Wave really targeted at SharePoint & Office Online ?

Come on people, show some imagination !

For all those who keep churning out the fact that Google Wave has no compelling improvement of email and IM, those who constantly suggest its a social networking platform aimed at taking on Twitter and FaceBook, or stating that its gonna flop because its unfinished crud;

Jeez, stop and breath and takd a minute to think about it !

Wave is a protocol (XMPP based), not just Google's current server platform and client app. There are already independent open source implementations of servers for the protocol. Yes the Google front end is unfinished - for all those who moan about how distracting it is to seen what the other person is typing; well even in the original Google I/O conference video they point out that that there will be a private 'draft' mode that will prevent this, so you can write in peace..........

Yes the released (and hyped it) early, because they want 'community' input - so no, its not finished or polished, but come on its just gone from private Alpha to invitation only Beta, its a long way from finished product(s) and no one is saying otherwise.

However all this "social networking / email killer" stuff is just distraction. The Wave protocol is about content centric collaboration - its a collaborative document creation / editing paradigm. So before pontificating on how it will never replace Twitter, think about how it might become competition for SharePoint 2010 and the online versions of the Office apps.

Think: Private cloud + Google Wave + Google Voice + Google Apps + = enterprise content collaboration platform. Is somebody going to write a CMIS API for this stack, I think they should !

Stephen Arnold has been saying for some time that people should be paying attentions to Googles moves in new database technology, so add that to all of the above.

Personally I would like to see appliances / software / VM's to more of this stuff inside the corporate firewall (you can build your own Wave servers, and buy Google Search Appliances).

I look at this from an enterprise viewpoint, and there are plenty of others who are doing so:
But I am sure the whole federated server based nature of the communications protocol will mean clever people will come up with lots of killer apps for the "public" Wave domains.

The only valid criticism I have heard of Wave so far is that is 're-inventing the wheel' a bit where it comes to the XML format it uses.

I am not on the invite list for the beta, and I doubt anyone at Google will read this, so I am not angling for one, in fact I think its going to be a couple of years before Google really builds up its 'wave front' - but thisl an open standards based protocol - stop thinking of Wave just as its seen in the flashy demo video or the sandbox developer account you managed to scrounge that you can't do much with.

Bottom line - stop thinking 'new fangled email crossed with IM and social networking' and think powerful content centric collaboration and document editing.


Mark Bean said...

Jed, want an invite?
email me at markdbean at gmail

andy stewart said...

Online collaborating and teaching can work, If you have trust and the right tools.
I recently tried http://www.showdocument.com - good app for uploading documents and working on them in real-time.
Most file types are supported and it needs no installation. - andy

Jed Cawthorne said...

Mark - thanks very much I will drop you a line !

Andy - I shall take a look at that tool. It sounds a bit like Etherpad.

Online collaboration, either inside the firewall or across the public inter-webs has a lot to do with organizational culture and personal preferences in working and learning styles.

I can understand the point of view of those people who leaping up and down shouting that Wave is not the be all and end all, and its all going to end up in tears, BUT even though I understand their perspective, I don't agree with it, I think they are being narrow minded, and jumping to unsupported conclusions too early.

Daniel said...

When I first saw wave, I thought "oh great, Google has invented Usenet..."

Still to this day, I fail to see the difference.

Jed Cawthorne said...

With respect to Daniel's comments - its very early days, my "evaluation" of Wave is not really going anywhere fast as I don't know enough people inside the system to get conversations developing. I still think in the mid to long term, this will be big !