Google Wave is exciting and transformative

May 28, 2009 | 3 comments

For almost five years, I’ve had a dream of creating a decentralized social networking system with granular access permissions and a customizable workflow. It would be open source, with an underlying, decentralized open protocol based on XMPP that anyone could build on top of and extend. It would redefine the way we work on the web, and make social connections as much of a part of the Internet infrastructure as email is today.

Google just released it.

Damnit.

In all seriousness, Google Wave, and particularly the Wave Protocol, have the ability to completely change how we communicate on the Internet. That might sound a little over-enthusiastic, but so far the project seems to be getting everything right. It’s distributed, extensible, granular (as public or private as you want) and open. There’s been some talk about the interface for their sample client being a little cluttered, but the team are at pains to point out that it’s in the early stages – and this misses the wider implications of the technology.

I’m not the only one talking in superlatives. Tim O’Reilly points out:

Suddenly, familiar applications look as old-fashioned as DOS applications looked as the GUI era took flight. Now that the web is the platform, it’s time to take another look at every application we use today, and ask the same question [project founders] Lars and Jens asked themselves [with email]: "What would this look like if we invented it today instead of twenty-five years ago?"

It remains to be seen how the project will develop, but I’ll be paying very close attention.

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3 Comments

  1. The protocol looks great, but how easy is it to implement? One of the things that made email strong – not to mention the web itself – is its simplicity.

    Oskar May 30, 2009 (7:12 pm)
  2. I don’t think the implementation will be much of a problem as Google will be providing a reference implementation (for both protocol server and client) and also because of the fact that it is extending existing protocols such as XMPP (google talk uses XMPP too). I’m guessing the developers will be responsible for simple and value added applications, provided that Google follows up on this and leverages it with its huge market share in the Internet (search, mail etc combined).

    -tayfun

    tayfun June 5, 2009 (12:57 am)
  3. Has Google implemented granular permissions in Wave? I’ve developed some apps in Zope that would fit better in Wave if the permissions are flexible enough.

    Doug August 10, 2009 (6:15 pm)

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