Catching the wave

When I was a kid I loved to surf. Now cruising to the beach with my thruster and catching a few waves was not an easy thing to do when I lived in the middle of the country five hours from the beach. It was frustrating that my nascent surfing skills would develop over summer and then slowly wane during the year. Each beach holiday I would need to learn again.

Google obviously had a window into my frustrations about catching waves, recently announcing Google Wave, “a new model for communication and collaboration on the web”.

Cute metaphors aside the wave looks very promising offering a new way of interacting with others on the web. The Wave offers live editing of documents and chats so you can see what others are typing at the same time. Much like my stop-start surfing career this prevents the sometimes haphazard chats where multiple topics can be confusing and difficult.

There has been a big buzz around collaboration for as long as the web has been around. The web itself is a massive collaboration tool, as is email, social media, email, SMS. The difference with The Wave is that it appears to have the potential to transform how we interact and work with colleagues on documents, how we comment and interact on blogs, how we make a smart arsed comment about Darren’s status update.

Google have made interaction synchronous bringing the fantasy offered by a multitude of tech sci-fi films even closer. The problem with many models is that they are asynchronous, all participants must be equally invested in the conversation for communication to be effective. The Wave doesn’t make it as easy to interact as me having a coffee with a colleague but it makes it easier.

Google Wave is a play that may provide Google with a means to aggregate and ‘own’ social media. It changes the game massively.

Details are still scant at this stage but I’ve signed up for a trial and will be watching The Wave very closely.

What do you think?