The most ambitious communication product by Google
In my previous blog post, I have written my opinion about Twitter and why it would be successful in making it big (read the post here) becuase it is an Internet Communication application with an API for unlimited appliations to be developed on top. Today I have learned about another even more powerful and ambious product to be launched by Google. It will be one that embrace almost all forms of communications on Internet today that I can think of today. If you are the user of this product in future, consider it as if you are sitting in your own military headquarters controlling all communications on the IP based internet. You will use this product as your strategic and be-all communication control console. This is because you will use it to send and receive information like:
- real time chatting,
- forum discussion,
- social networking,
- photo sharing,
- video sharing,
- opinion and data collection,
- application sharing and collaboration and
This product is called Google Wave.
However, to say that it is a communication product by Google is a very large understatement. It is really a “Communication Protocol”, a centralized information switch and a set of API for new applications to be built upon. Based on these rules of communications (protocol) and core information switching services, another layers of interactive server and client software can be developed for various purpose or business application. The “product” of Google Wave to be launched to the mass public soon is really, just one of many to software applications built upon the Google Wave Communication Protocol and API.
It looks to me that Google is not launching a product but launching a new era of integrated communications with a vision to get many online company to adapt it’s communication standard. If everybody is to build their application base on the way of Google Wave, the internet world will have a more or less standard language amongst different applications to interact and share information. So it’s like reinventing Telephone back in the old days.
Google Wave is “Open Source” too. Being open source means they are trying to push it to the rest of the world in mass scale. Google has openly admitted that Google not only wanting to share it with the world but need the people to help developing the products. I think the “sharing” part of Open Source also strategically means Google wants to lead the mass market by contribution and influence to application developers and not by forces. Nothing’s wrong with that but it does have a lot of business implication. For end user like me, we don’t mind having a “unified” communication system that seriously simplified our communication in a one-stop-shop fashion. It simply means a lot of time savings in our communication in personal level or even for our work. However, it does mean that the world is going to be “Populated” with the same server applications. Since they are the same applications that are decided to communicate with each other, that means cross servers (or cross companies/organizations) communications is not only at the design of the product but also on how to promote the mass adaptation of the product through the way of Open Source. In a nutshell, through the freely distributed open source application, the market will adapt and eventually it will become a dominate market standard or defactual standard.
What does it mean to us as an individual with Google Wave? As I said in the first paragraph, we are going to have a one centralized communication console for all our electronic communication. You are going to save a lot of time from switching amongst communications (like Twitter, Facebook, E-mail, Forum, Blogging and so forth). In theory you will be able to see all incoming content and you should be able to dispatch your messages (not just text but photo and videos) back to all these sites. It will means that you will be seeing more new web sites that are “Google Wave” connected in future if they play the game correctly. On a social level, I think people are going to be very very addicted. However, people get addicted to things anyway like they do too much gaming, too much TV or too much social networking. If we are to be addicted we might as well do it time efficiently.
What does it mean to business? I think many web sites with their stand alone business models (like Forum, Blog, E-mail, Video Sharing, Photo Album, and Social Networking) will see their users being drawn away to use Google Wave. This is because they can setup their own Forum Thread. They no longer need to have a separate Video Service like YouTube. Many sites will be at risk. And then there are other opportunities for individual. Anyone with good content to show to the rest of the world will be able to use the comprehensive set of integrated services to connect to the rest of the world. He shall focus on his own content and leave the application part to Google Wave and it’s integrated web services.
For example, a person with good Stock Investment Tips can easily setup his own Forum by opening his “Wave” (or thread) to the rest of the world and people will participate in his Wave. So this person may not have to go to a specific forum site. In fact it’s like a centralized Forum Site broken down to individual people’s publicized mail thread. The value of a “centralized” site will be replaced by the “Google Search”. People will find their interested discussion thread. With the way the Google Wave Open Sourced server is setup, these forum threads can be hosted by any number of servers on the Internet. So the value of a centralized “Forum” will very much not needed.
Google’s benefits, other than the unlimited potential once the world is communicating its’ way, is a competitive application that keeps Gmail alive. And Gmail’s business to google is one of the largest publishing network for Google’s Keyword Ad to be distributed. With Google Wave it’s like Gmail the Next Generation. As long as people use Google Wave, there will be unlimited topical keywords embedded in people’s discussion thread to help Google to match relevant ad.
Most business will simply be a user of the Google Wave. Some highly related industry such as Newspaper company will have to think hard on how they will dispatch their news and content through the system and still find how to make money. Many “database” companies who will find hard time to get members’ contact info (such as e-mail address and telephone number) since people can “follow” and “unfollow” just like Twitter or “Make Friend” or “Break Relationship” like Facebook. The other side cannot hold on to the contact inform and forcefully “spam” them. Perhaps I am being a bit too futuristic but there is no harm just to dream a little on a lazy Saturday afternoon when I write this blog.
Have a good weekend.