Are you a designer? A web or tech geek? You have no excuse to avoid watching the introduction of Google Wave. To quote my good friend Matt Lohkamp, “just watch the first 15 minutes, then see if you can stop.”
At least two of my presentations (and a fair amount of my college lectures) have included the assertion that the web is still in an early, pupa-like stage. Email is a classic example of this: an impressively prevalent new media standard based almost entirely on the constraints of dead wood pulp traversing the globe on planes, trains and automobiles.
Wave excites me because it sheds those pre-conceived notions of written communication in order to take advantage of the web’s unique strengths. It is truly an infinite canvas project at heart, free from the bindings of “messages” and “inboxes.” In the spirit of Google’s flagship search product, Wave gets out of the way. It allows us to simply talk to each other.
As amazing, fluid and instantaneous as the default interface appears to be, the commitment to introduce Wave as an open standard is a far greater and more important statement. Google’s first level of ubiquity came with their efficient, fast and relevant search. They pushed it further with the introduction of extensible services which continue to organize our information in increasingly intuitive and exciting ways. I am truly impressed at the level of objectivity and foresight required to acknowledge the only barrier between them and world domination: themselves.
I’ve often heard that the increasing prevalance of Facebook and MySpace messaging may reveal email’s successor, but we may have failed to see the forest through the trees. The future is a standard of communication that exists in and apart from all our communication services, that accomodates our Grandma’s desire to share photos with the same appropriateness as our IT manager’s requirement of easily-managed, secure and efficient collaboration tools.
I normally reserve judgment of a product until I’ve used it myself, and I realize this entry must have an air of naiveté, but I can’t help it! For all my hyperbole, I confess to being an email codger who relies on a combination of Mozilla Thunderbird and Gmail born from a distrust of pure cloud communication. Fifteen minutes into this presentation, I was ready to abandon all of that.
The truth is, I want to be using Wave right now. Will you join me later this year?
(Apologies to Engadget for the movie reference.)