Q: What do you get when you combine email threads, [nearly] instant messaging, photos, blog-esque, wikis, to-dos, document editing, presentations, spreadsheets, file storage and sharing ?. ?
A: Lotus Notes.? .. oh wait, that was early 1990′s ?. Groove ?.. no, that was late 1990′s, ?. Adobe ?no, that was last week ? it must be Google Wave.
It looks like Google Wave could be very pleasant to use but like so many new tools, it only works when everyone uses Wave.
Is Google big enough to change everyone ? Probably not.
I look at micro-blogging as an interesting example. Services like Twitter understood that micro-blogging needed to work with the tools people already had and work in the style that people already were comfortable – browser, desktop clients, smart phone apps, and all they way down to legacy SMS.
There is a bit of a difference with Google Wave. You don’t install a server and so you don’t need to have everyone in a directory or identified up front or all with the same email addresses, etc. It’s Google, so the servers are “out in the Google Cloud”. You also don’t need everyone to have installed the same client – just as long everyone involved has an HTML5 browser (I’m not sure how many users currently use a compatible browser).
This is not to say Wave will have limited appeal but it won’t replace email for those who only need/want email and it wont replace micro-blogging given how many use simple SMS and it won’t replace corporate wikis and collaborative editing given the concern with privacy and security that still exists with cloud based services [update: it would be possible for a company, willing to deploy open source, to install a base version of the Wave software].
Skepticism aside, I will definitely find some opportunities to run Google Wave through it’s paces (when it is publicly available). Who knows, it might actually be useful <sigh>.