This presentation from the Google I/O conference is an 80-minute demonstration of a really interesting collaborative tool that very successfully blends the look and feel of regular tools (email, Twitter) with the embeddedness and immediacy of Wikis and share documents. I am quite excited about this and hope it makes it out in the consumer space and does not just rest inside single organizations – collaborative spaces can create a world of many walled gardens, and being a person that works as much between organizations as in them.
Google wave really shows the power of centralized processing and storage. Here are some things I noted and liked:
- immediate updating (broadcast) to all clients, keystroke by keystroke
- embedded, fully editable information objects
- history awareness (playback interactions)
- central storage and broadcast means you can edit information objects and have the changes reflect back to previous views, which gives a pretty good indication that the architecture of this system is a tape of interactions played forward
- concurrent collaborative editing (I want this! No more refreshes!)
- cool extensions, such as a context-aware spell checker, an immediate link creator, concurrent searcher
- programs are seen as participants much like humans
- easy developer model, all you need to do is edit objects and store them back
- client-side and server-side API
- interactions with outside systems
I can see some strategic drivers behind this: Google is very much threatened by walled gardens such as Facebook, and this could be a great way of breaking that open (remember, programs go from applications to platforms to protocols, and this is a platform built over OpenSocial, which jams open walled gardens). This could just perhaps be what I need to be able to more effectively work over several organizations. Just can’t wait to try this out when it finally arrives.
From surfing the net to surfing the waves….
Update: Here is the Google Blog entry describing Wave from Lars Rasmussen.