The next mass collaborative platform for the world? Google Wave

Google Wave, yes I want it to have my first born. So I'm sure you've all read or heard about it but I only just watched the whole video over my HSDPA/3G connection due to being away from home in London. I did actually have the chance (thanks Google) to watch the whole Google IO event live from Google Headquarters in London but didn't come out of a meeting till late and decided that by the time I would get to Victoria, it would have been in full swing. And there is nothing worst that coming into packed room late and having to step over everyone to get a seat.

So as you'd imagined, I'm pretty excited by Google Wave and I've not even used it yet. Why? Well for me it stands for almost everything I've been trying to do elsewhere outside of email, but not only that they are right its about time email moved over and it got upgraded to a world where the internet is ubiquitous. I've had James Cridland's blog open for a while because I've been meaning to reply to his post about the email culture of the BBC and how to deal with email. But I don't think I will now because Google Wave has lead me to true realisation that Email is broken. Its not progressed and although its served us well in the past its time to look elsewhere. Elsewhere, seemed to be heading towards the silo groupware products. Even the non silo ones were some what centralised. Google Wave is much closer to the way email works that the project based systems I even use to date. What makes me smile is that Google could have locked this down a lot but instead they allowed you to create plugins and extensions. Then totally threw it to the community by opening the wave protocal. So you can make a Wave client for anything and deploy the server code on anything you like. Just like email. In practice just like email only a few people do run the server but other enterprising types will happily run a server for you and charge you for the uses of it.

I don't want to talk too much about individual parts of Wave because it is early and theres a lot which is covered by the video but there was a couple of bits where I was thinking oh they've really thought about this stuff. The client of Wave working on a command line, the bit where they showed wave via a plugin watching a blog comments (this is going to be so useful for certain people in the BBC) and when they showed the secret option. There's no doubt that Microsoft and others need to quickly jump on Wave and build there own clients and servers. I can't see much which will hold back wave from being adopted once Google get the developers on board. And why wouldn't you? If Wave could be as big as IMAP? There's going be a lot tension as this service opens to the public, I mean if you work on a groupware system like Lotus Notes, this is a total threat, I had thought maybe the likes of Basecamp would also be in trouble, but the thing they need to do is build plugins for wave as soon as possible. I mean imagine having a Doodle plugin which allows you to do planning of meetings in a simple non-intrusive way. Google really have out innovated everything else in this area and made it very hard to not jump on board. A++ to Google….

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and