Take emailing, instant messaging, file sharing, collaborating, tweeting, social networking, mobile living, online docs, open standards, extensions, widgets, scripting, blogging, presentation with multimedia, scheduling, and just about every other service you can think of that today's Internet currently provides (though far from seamlessly), combine them all in a blender, run them on an HTML 5 compliant browser (such as Google's Chrome, conveniently), and you have Google Wave - or rather, what it aspires to become.
It appears Google is trying to take over the entire world. Unlike Microsoft, who has always been hampered by a severe lack of vision, or Apple, who is content to make very useful, beautiful things but keep them insanely proprietary, Google might actually succeed. It's kind of the way Wikipedia succeeded, by letting its users determine the way it develops, not forcing technologies on them and telling them why they're necessary.
It's pretty cool and at the same time pretty scary. As long as Google remains people-friendly, standards-compliant, and transparent (mostly) about its motives, and goes with the flow of what society actually wants and simply provides some really smart ways of doing such things, it will forever be seen in a friendly light. The moment it begins to abuse its power and grab for money or intellectual property rights or anything else not so public-friendly, it will be seen as a monolithic Big Brother and monopoly threat. Is this the way dystopic futures like The Matrix start out?
Although I don't like the idea of single companies (or entities of any type) having inordinate power, Google so far has proved honest and open, trying to "better" the web of course for its own shareholders' sake but also seemingly just for the sake of doing it. For creative individuals to pour their energy into projects which not only give them their 15 minutes of fame and stroke their ego (and make them rich), but also benefit the online public. All in all, it has acted very un-Microsoftlike, which is all good news in my book. Microsoft has long tried to graft together everything on the desktop and in "the cloud" into one big...something...but that something has been ugly, unwieldy, and decidedly NOT what the public has wanted. In fact, the company seems downright hostile to its own user base most of the time.
Personally I'd rather the future remained a big sprawling mess of healthy competition, but if one company has to step forward and lead the development of technologies (standards development should be kept separate, though - this is very important and probably the #1 reason Microsoft has failed), I'd sure as hell rather it be Google than Redmond, Washington. Apple for its part doesn't even want to seem to play the game, and never has. They're content with having a "niche of excellence" in which they control absolutely everything, and leaving the dregs (everyone who isn't an Apple person) to do what they will. This ivory-tower worldview is quite unlike what you'd expect given Steve Jobs' hippie upbringing, but actually it's perfectly fine, as long as it's not the only game in town. Just like it's fine that there are Ferraris or Guinness beer in the world. After all, no one is forcing you to buy into the complete Apple brand. If you do, it's because it's got value for you and it's in line with your own aesthetic. I happen to love it, but I've been accused of being elitist too, and maybe I am in my own way. I just know what I like; what's right for me.
But as for the online world as a whole, which unlike that "resort club" atmosphere of the Apple World is a frothing sea of competing standards, technologies, and shady people trying to steal your wallet or your identity, people have to choose who to trust. And I'll say again, given the choice of the two, I'd choose Google over Microsoft eight days a week. It remains to be seen whether that trust is appropriate or misplaced. Power nearly always leads to corruption, and Google is going to have to severely buck that trend if it wants to continue to grow into every aspect of online life (which is increasingly becoming just "life") and continue to be seen as a Good Guy. I hope they do. They're much more exciting a company than that other one which has been attempting this feat for going on 30 years now, and has continually just pissed people off at every step (I think you know who I'm talking about).
Anyway, check out a couple of videos of Google Wave. The first is edited down to 10 minutes from an 80-minute presentation, so it's a little disorienting, but you get a sense of the real power of the integrative online experience Google is trying to pull off. The second is more basic but also less frenetic.
To watch the entire 80 minute presentation, or just to learn more about the product, go here:
YouTube, naturally, has a lot of short video clips on how to use it, what it all means, and so on. Just search on "Google Wave" from within 'Tube and you'll see what I mean.
As always, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on this product/technology, or the subject of digital convergence, future lifestyles (good or bad), or anything else for that matter! Sound off in the comments section if you have an opinion.
- ► 2010 (289)
- Full-screen it!
- The Albigensian Crusade.
- My future wife :^)
- Christmas list...
- Death song. I'm unstable Pills cannot help me Tha...
- Untitled. Over the draperies of sand A scarlet ib...
- Pharisee I don't enjoy being hurt Or swindled And...
- Comfort food.
- NOT Photoshopped.
- Sparta Marty Feldman
- Google Wave.
- Legacy of crusade.
- Lapse of Memory.
- Getting back into C++
- ▼ November (19)
- ► 2008 (226)
- ► 2007 (536)
- ► 2006 (600)