There has been a tremendous amount of buzz surrounding one of Google’s newest products, Google Wave. Essentially, it is a real-time communication platform that combines aspects of email, wiki, chat, app platform, and more into one tool. Some hail it as the replacement to email, while others believe it is too ambitious for its own good.
With a potentially game-changing product set to make its debut on September 30th, what’s a small business to do? Should it invest time and energy into Google Wave, or ignore it unless it receives mainstream adoption? Is it a useful tool for a business to use so early? Let’s explore these questions and more:
Q: What is the purpose of Google Wave?
A: According to Google, it is “is a new tool for communication and collaboration on the web.” Perhaps the best explanation might be Google Wave is what email would be if it were invented today. Conversations (aka “waves”) occur faster, they are easier to organize and parse, and they are not limited to the individual.
Q: What are Google Wave’s biggest features?
A: While Google’s real-time communication platform has a lot of features, there are a few big ones that you don’t see in most communication platforms.
- Wave employs wiki-style editing, meaning that anyone can edit anyone else’s message. The goal is to have a malleable conversation.
- There is a playback feature, which lets you view an entire wave conversation as it developed if you missed it.
- It employs drag-and-drop file sharing.
- You can use apps within a wave – this is called a Wave Extension. You can embed maps, games, and more into wave conversations.
- It’s open source, so you can create your own private version of Google Wave and install it on your own server like an Exchange Server.
Q: Will it kill email?
A: That’s a question nobody can answer. In many respects it’s more advanced than email, but ultimately it depends on whether the regular person adopts Wave over email.
Q: Is it useful for a small business to use it?
A: It has a lot of useful features, like drag-and-drop file sharing and apps that make it a useful project management and collaboration platform for business. It’s very efficient for communication, once you learn how to use it.
Q: Will it get widespread adoption?
A: That’s the million dollar question. It has hundreds of thousands of people signed up for the beta testing occurring later this month. That doesn’t mean your busy mom or top-level executive will buy in, though. We’ll just have to wait and see.
If you want to learn more about Google’s new product, we suggest reading Mashable’s complete guide to Google Wave.