Friday, May 29, 2009

What is Google Wave?

What is Google Wave? Interesting question and I'm glad you asked!

I just heard about Google Wave. It's a new open source amalgamation of web tools, including IM, calendar, docs and spreadsheets, email, Twitter, and other stuff. In short, Google Wave is a new social network and it's pretty cool and you're going to hear more about it.

Check out the full Google Wave developer preview video:

One news article asks: Is Google Wave the Spork of the Internet?

I would say that no, adding more usability features does not make Google Wave a "spork" (an ill-thought out combination of a spoon and a fork). I did like the comparison of "Gmail 2.0." It works because Gmail was a new way to use email when it came out. It meant no more huge lists of folders; instead we rely on its search to use. There are more Gmail vs. Google Wave comparisons in the developer preview video.

I think complaining about Google Wave's mash of features comes from the fact that it seems like a jumble of too much stuff... but a big part of that comes down to what makes Web 2.0 what it is. We don't need to place things in neat categories anymore (like a directory); now we use taxonomy and high powered search engines (hint: Google is pretty good at this). We don't have to actively sort our information, because we have tools that provide the same benefits and more.

Another article asks, Is Google Wave a Twitter Killer?

To this I would say, "Yes." Because most people don't seem to like Twitter, given its poor retention rates. And I think Google Wave is going to be much more convenient. Going to Facebook for one thing, Twitter for another, plus a few other niche social networks for whatever you want is really annoying.

Personally, I think Google Wave is going to be big. Facebook has tried to integrate Twitter-like functionality, but all their users complain whenever they try anything major, so it can't really improve as fast as it needs to. Google Wave is a new social network, which solves this problem. It also amalgamates many more "web as platform" tools than other social networks out there.

Here's to hoping it works well.

In short, dear Google Wave: Please work well.