Last week I was introducing Google Wave in an executive lunch to someone with an IT and Business Consultant background. He did not know of Google Wave until I introduced to him over the lunch (read my last blog post if you don't know Google Wave : Click Here). After listening to me for a few minutes, he suddenly said that Google would not be successful in launching Google Wave. His immediate and raw reaction actually reinforces my post’s title "the most ambitious communication product by Google”. It is indeed ambitious. The chance of success for such a comprehensive product to be launched to the mass market is low; thus the description “ambitious” was craved into my blog post title.
I am more positive becuase Google Wave fits the 6 characters that I have observed in the last decade from web applications that have made it big (at least once). I call them 6 Es. More will be covered in this post later.
I am slightly more positive in this case, also, because I believe the general user of web communication has been trained by Facebook, Twitter, Forums, Chat and hundreds of other Internet communication products. "Timing is right" in a nutshell. I believe the market (at least a significant portion of the web user) will understand and be able to use complicated product like Google Wave. These people are likely the online marketing evangelists like me. On the other hand, I think the product looks simple enough in its user interface. It looks reasonably simple that it will not scare people away. Chances are that people just use the basic function of Google Wave first when their feet just get wet. There is no need to use all functions inGoogle Wave. They can simply use it as a e-mail alternative.
Google Wave is more sustainable because of proven online advertising business model. Google will have to educate the market. However, give it some times and people will gradually get comfortable with the new interface and learn to use the advance functions. People will be “educated” by their friends when being prompted to read information pushing by their friends. Given the market share and financial power of Google, it will have enough resource to sustain the time needed by the market. Also, Google has already established it’s Online Advertising business model, it’s not going to have the pressure to quickly look for revenue stream to sustain the product or business development. Chances are that Google will use Google Wave to capture users who did not use Gmail but like to use it’s social networking and email integrated function. More users and more traffic will means more content to help distributed Google’s Adwords’ advertisements.
Another reason I think Google is going to be successful in long run is that with the protocol, extension and API setup, Google is going to gain cost efficiency in future application developments. It’s simply the backbone of the future communications. Google Wave is a new product but it is also a very strategic building component for future roadmap. As more applications are developed for Google Wave, the more successful Google Wave will be. So other new venture of Google's product will add weight and sustainability to Google Wave.
Having said that, of course it’s just very new and nobody can truely assess the chance of success. We are all making wild guesses. My guess is based on a simple score aginst the 6 characteristics to make it a really big scale killer app. Well, like other who’s trying to make my point across, I shall call them the 6 Es. They are:
- Everyone - Can be used by almost everyone on the net – male, female, old, young, you, me ….
- Everyday - Can be used everyday – just like your e-mail today.
- Every device - Can be used by any device (PC, notebook and mobile device)
- Every friend - Has the viral and networking effect – the user will introduce the product to other users
- Every partner - Extension / API to further build niche applications and a large network of value-added software solution provider.
- Every topic – Unlimited content with unlimited number of topics as people use it to discuss various topics. There is no cost to buy or to “write” content. Users simply supply unlimited amount of content to make the product ever interesting.
Google Wave fits them all.
Finally, many successful products come and go in the past becuase they were just one product. Google Wave will sustain longer because it is really not a product but a protocol standard. The real challenge to Google is whether other software partners will play along Google’s rule of games. If they have enough partners they will be successful. Like Windows’ success in having the most compatible software solutions, Google Wave’s success will depend on how well Google promote and support this new product to other “partners”.