Catch the Wave

Google Wave is being described as a communication and collaboration tool which seeks to introduce a new way of working, information sharing and interacting. Slated for introduction later in 2009, the web based, open source tool will seek to shift the collaboration paradigm by providing a one-stop source for everything digital about a topic that people may be interacting with or on. Think of it as an interactive, browser based environment which seemlessly brings together all pieces of information about a topic or project, allowing it to be browsed by time sequence and allowing for real time updating and sharing of all information. Two simple concepts here, one old, one new. The old, is the continuing challenge of creating a portal, a single unifying window which straddles a diversity of applications (instant messaging, email, tweets, facebook updates, MS Word documents…) and gives access to all of these seemlessly. The new, is the integration of these technologies by timeline. In essence, and one of the reasons for the name “Wave”, is that the timeline becomes the unifying element for all related data and creates the ability for someone to experience the evolution of something from the beginning to the present. I do think that this is a breakthrough construct which could lead to incredible productivity gains. As an example, consider a complex project which requires adding resources mid-stream. A normal challange associated with this would be the learning curve for project specific information and context. Using the “wave” paradigm, an individual could “replay” the project’s information evolution from beginning to present. All context would potentially be retained, timing sensitivities made obvious, and inter-relationships preserved and presented. This may be powerful stuff. Now the proof will be in the execution and use, promise tends to be broader than reality, and of course, people have to share content, but this might be big!

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