Sunday, May 31, 2009

Google Wave - Email for the Facebook Generation

Email is probably the oldest app in the web and one that didn't change that much. Yes, Google made some attempts with Google mail and incorporating chat there, but still is pretty close to our old simple email that was invented ... even before the browser.
The guys of Google want to change that with Wave and they have a really good change to succeed, because Wave is impressive.
If I have to summarize it in one sentence, it will be this: email for the facebook generation.
However there is much more, specially the collaborative aspect that points to this new way of producing documents and work in general, collaborating from the start, discussing on-line and constantly.
Much has been written already aboout wave, but let me point out some consequences of wave:
  • The diminishing importance of the operating system. Life is in the net, the OS is disappearing, becoming more and more a commodity.
  • MS is about to ready Life which is his answer to Google docs. Well, Wave is way more advance, way more radical and Open Source.
  • Wave incorporates many of the features of facebook, this constant conversation, constant on life on the net where life and work intermix in multiple devices. This is so far away from the model of sites and social networks where users are captured in an environment.
However, the most interesting aspect is the business model and how Google uses it to compete against much larger companies and to take the lead in the Internet.
Wave will be Open Source as Android is, and APIs are already available. Giving the software away ( contrary to other models such as SaS) allows Google to establish a platform where to capture value not from the software but from traffic (I imagine that they still don't really know how 100% they are going to capture value, but they are convinced that as long as there is traffic, they can benefit from it).
This constant reinvention of the business model and its use as for competition is characteristical of Google.
Just one final note, look also how platforms as we know (iTunes, Ovi, facebook, Amazon, ...) are being reinvented here. Platforms are no longer propietary or controled, the platform itself is Open Source, why? again -- traffic and possibly mail is like search ... the winner takes all.

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