Earlier this week, Google announced the release of their new communication tool, Google Wave. It’s already available for the select group of developers who attended the Google I/O convention. I’m going to take a chance now and say that it’s going to be big. Up until now, Google has separately released a number of powerful, but siloed tools. This includes gmail, calendar, contacts, chat, docs, and a host of other one off applications. All have been web-based and hosted on Google servers. While each tool has been incredibly powerful, they lacked the true integration that kept them from becoming a realistic competitor to enterprise business applications like Office.
From the 1:20 demo, we can see the first proof of concept of the new features. They include real time collaboration, language tools for contextual spell check, and extension to other mediums like blogs. Think of this tool as Facebook, except its everywhere and not limited to just one isolated social networking site.
Reasons why Google Wave may change the way we work
- It looks like local software. The way you interact with Google Wave mimics so closely to native desktop applications, you’ll forget you’re using a browser.
- It’s on the cloud. Data is stored safely in Google’s data centers. No need to worry about backing up and syncing.
- Collaboration. Until now, collaborating on a document meant only one person could work on it at a time. You’d track changes, send the document to a reviewer who would review the changes, make more changes, send it back. This process repeats, some versions are lost and duplicated. Instead, Google Wave allows for real time collaboration on a document.
- Open source. This isn’t going to be proprietary software. Google is making all the programing API’s available for limitless extensions and plug ins.
- Mobile. You can take it with you on the road on your iPhone, or Google preferred Android phone.
This may be the first time that Google Wave will force business to take a hard look at their enterprise application strategy. Using web-based software significantly reduces the IT support cost for maintaining licenses and desktop configuration. Google Apps for the enterprise was only the first model. Google Wave may make this a truly robust enterprise solution for information workers and much improved collaboration.
I have already submitted a request to be a beta tester. Watch the demo after the jump.