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Will you ride the Google wave or stick with the technology of the past?

Will you ride the Google wave or stick with the technology of the past?

If your not aware Google is working on YET another beta product called "Wave", and this time it's targeted at improving how email works. At least that is what I am getting from the 1:20:12 long presentation. I don't know how much time they were supposed to have at that demo but an hour and a half is an odd time to be given. As usual with Google beta products it is by invitation only to participate or get your hands on it until they allow the chosen ones to hand out more invitations, and finally open it to the public fully.

Wave is described as a "collaboration tool", meaning it's alot like Microsoft Outlook in that you schedule appointments, handle email, contacts, and in this case documents and "any other data". However it does this in a far better way that Outlook or any current desktop collaboration tools do.

Here is a cut down version I found on YouTube to save you the time of watching almost an hour and a half of video of Google making the crowd clap and cheer excessively.



If you want to watch the full thing just click here, be sure you have something to eat before hand...

Key points:

  • Product will be open source, allowing anyone to make their own Wave server software
  • Product will turn chat, emails, and documents into "waves" (or at least from what I understand it does)
  • Waves are constantly changing, and instantly updated
  • Waves are designed to improve sharing between users/recipients/participants (depending on how you want to call it)
  • Waves will be able to integrate with third party addons (extensions), allowing waves to be turned into actual web pages.
  • Someone can add content to a wave at any point in the content, and it is easy to see those new additions.

So from what I understand about this product is that it is designed to let you work better and faster, and that it is either going to replace email, or improve it. I say either, because it is not entirely clear on how this product is going to work with traditional email clients.

I mean what happens if you send a wave to someone that uses normal email. How will it look to them, better yet can you even send a wave to someone using traditional email?

Let's assume that you can, since it is'nt clear if you can or not.  Will these old email users see entire conservations? Will they be bombarded with updates to waves on other servers? When you get a reply back from them will that simply only appear at the bottom or top of a wave like a normal email?

Now lets assume some more, let us assume that acting with old school email servers is all fine and happy. Let us assume that every one wants to use this new technology.

I still see one flaw with it, and it is the same flaw that effects the IMAP email standard!

What do you do when your ISP ticks you off, and you want to move to another service. You want your old email, but it's sitting on their server. IMAP has no way to download and keep messages on your system, only to cache them. On top of that many desktop clients will remove the cached emails when you simply reconfigure the account for a new server. Further hardly any ISP's provide IMAP service because it would mean they would have to increase their storage capabilities, or don't want to deal with users needing to save their email and transfer it to another host at some point.

So how can Wave fix this issue, it will be fully web based, and no desktop client. So will there be a way to download a message archive? Will there be an "Import from another server" feature?

If google wants this product to catch on, they need to address these two issues. Working with old email servers, and allowing users to transfer their waves to another server.

This is indeed an awesome product, and I can't wait to get my hands on it (Still in beta, waiting for Google to approve me), however if I have issues with the above mentioned... Don't count on me using it for long.

Last Updated: 09/06/2009 11:09 PM

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