Sun 7 Jun 2009
I just devoted 1.2h of my time to view the Google Wave video in its entirety and I’m impressed. I wholeheartedly agree with glowing comments by Tim O’Rilley and Matt Asay. I’m not sure it will retire e-mail or traditional IMs, but it has a potential to change internal communication in companies. It is the first thing that has really a chance to challenge MS Exchange’s reign in corporate communication. Here is why.
First, it will be opensourced and based on an open protocol unlike most of Google products so far. Most corporations won’t use hosted web tools like Google Apps precisely because they value their data and want to retain control over it. They won’t use tools they can’t host on their own servers behind their own firewalls. So Wave is something that can get adopted where Google Apps (and all other hosted apps for that matter) didn’t stand a chance.
But even more important is the ability to integrate almost everything with Wave through extensions and bots. Here lies the real strength of Wave as a corporate solution.
Typically large businesses have already different specialized systems that are supporting their processes – CRMs, accounting systems, ERPs, logistics & order tracking etc. And much of the communication inside those companies revolves around same processes and data stored in those systems. Currently this communication goes in e-mails with data pasted in or attached as spreadsheets etc. With Wave it is easy to imagine integrating all those systems and creating a customized, comprehensive corporate communication environment. People would be able to talk and discuss invoices, orders, reports & other stuff right in their Wave inbox seeing up to date information fetched into context from other corporate systems.
Of course, it will take a while – Wave is still beta and protocol to connect different Wave servers is still being developed. There are issues to fix before Wave will be used and then it will take a push from both corporate IT and companies like us to create all the integration, build extensions, robots etc. But we are definitely seeing something very interesting here. And we are eager to deploy it.