The wrong ball park, Shareflow vs Google Wave

People have been sending me links to Shareflow and asking what I think of it. Well I did spot it a while ago when the whole thing kicked off about Shareflow ripping off Google Wave.

Let’s suppose that Zenbe HAD copied Google Wave. That would mean that Zenbe managed to design, build and deploy a real, complete, useable product, along with everything needed to actually support a public service, all in less than a month!  That would be phenomenal!   Miraculous! You should check out Shareflow just to see the magic!

If you search the Internet you will realize that Shareflow must be a separate, independent solution, perhaps to a similiar problem, and has nothing to do with Google Wave.

Shareflow grew out of our own efforts at solving our own communication and collaboration needs.  We wanted a something that would let us ditch IM, email, wikis, and other disconnected tools.  We have been working on Shareflow for more than a year, its been out in public since February 09, in private testing for a few  months before that.

You want proof?  How about  a Youtube video from March, or a  blog post from April?  Or this one.  Or just ask anyone who signed up for our subscription service Zenbe Mail earlier this year.

From my point of view I think its like Wave but theres 2 major differences. 1st one is Shareflow is very cloud web 2.0 like, so its a hosted service like 37 Signal's Basecamp. This, a year ago would have been cool and to be honest I'd be saying nicer things about it a year ago too. However Wave has changed things and moved things on for the better. Wave isn't just a application, nor is it just a platform nope its lower down than that. Its a protocal! And its a open protocal, which is a whole different ball park. Actually if I was Shareflow/Zenbe I'd personally put Wave protocal support in the roadmap very soon. They would be crazy not to.

The biggest complaint I have about Google Wave's HTML client is it looks like all other google apps, aka not exactly exciting just functional. While the shareflow client looks better designed. And thats where their business model could be. Leave the heavy lifting stuff to the Wave protocal and platform. Focus on the experience of the users. They need to be more like Mozilia (clever client apps which work on open protocals) that Microsoft (end to end solution).

By the way, did anyone notice Shareflow also has no API and no details of the actual protocal being used? It might have the jump on Wave now, but its won't be long before its bypassed and I just can't see how Zeebe will compete unless they jump on the wave platform too.

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Author: Ianforrester

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