I was just reading this CNET post on wave. Rafe Needleman and Stephen Shankland (both working for CNET) answer questions about Google Wave in an attempt to explain what it is.
Sadly, they don’t really get past the Google Wave demo itself. In my opinion, the demo itself, although remarkable, is not very important. Google Wave isn’t impressive because Google build a cool demo. There are 10 other reasons why Google Wave is more important than that. Google set a vision that will change the way we will communicate online.
What I find remarkable about this vision is that Google is breaking through some existing boundaries that hold web 2.0 progress back so far. I could repeat my 10 points made earlier, but I would like to focus on a subset.
Google has not only unified different types of online communication (e-mail, instant messaging, SMS) into one paradigm (wave), but they have also ensured that it can run fully distributed and can integrate with most of the things we have. To understand what that means I urge you not to see Google Wave as a new service, but as a new service layer.
Whereas services like e-mail, instant messaging and social networks always have been build on the premise of a walled garden business model, Google Wave can become the new communication structure services can develop upon. It is set up from the start as an open source project with a clear focus on development API’s. I’m sure that Google will launch a Google Wave service at some point that will attract many users. But it also allows any other service to use that same paradigm to implement unified online communication.
Google has not only spent time and energy making sure Wave can suck content into the platform, it has spent as much time and energy making sure it can get out too! Farewell destination based business models. Farewell walled gardens. If Wave gets adapted, it will put the user in control, and that is exactly what we need to do to break out of our current web 2.0 boundaries. That is what makes this development so remarkable.
Google just did some major plumbing on the web, and honestly, they were probably the only ones that could do this. They, unlike other companies, do not need walled gardens to make lots of revenues. After all, their walled garden is the entire web, and beyond 😉