Oct 02


I usually try to refrain from using any sort of sporting analogy.  Unfortunately, “Game Changer” seemed to be the most fitting title for Google’s new social media attempt- Google Wave.  Google already has a well established name, a great reputation and a ton of money- it only seems natural that they would try their hands at social networking.  It looks like they might have a “winner” too.

The Wave is said to be part email, part instant messaging and part document.  It combines text, photos, video, maps, and other elements into a single communication stream, taking our internet conversations to a-whole-nother level.  Many of the applications that make up Google Wave already exist - email, IM, google docs, calendars, etc.  What Google Wave will do is bring them all together into one platform for your convenience.

Probably the most attention grabbing feature of Google Wave is the real-time collaboration functionality.  Wave participants can comment inline and the statements are accompanied by the user’s profile and a timestamp allowing you to easily identify who said what, when.  Users can see text appear in the wave as it is being typed and while all this madness is going on, Wave participants can view and edit the same content at the same time.  Even cooler is the Playback function which allows new users who just joined the wave to play the wave stream back post by post. They can add comments and edit text as they go through the stream and get caught up on their own schedule so they can join the real-time conversation.

The entire wave is a beast of its own.  It’s like an email or instant message on steroids.  Participants on the wave are notified as the wave is updated or modified, and the wave can be easily searched based on any content of the wave- dynamically updating potential results as you type.  You can link to waves from other email and instant messaging clients, and can also embed waves within web sites or social networking sites using Google Wave API’s.

Will the Google Wave be a threat to the other socials networks like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter?  The key to it’s success will be how easy they can make the user interface.  It has to have a very low learning curve but also enough sophisticated technology to make kids and nerds satisfied.

Most people are already satisfied with the social networks they are using.  The challenge Google faces is getting those people (and all those peoples’ friends and family) to change their minds and make the switch. 

If it’s as revolutionary as Google makes it sound, perhaps it may just be the solution we’ve been looking for (or not).

Click here for more info on Google Wave