May 29, 2009
Google Game Changers Come in Waves
Google Wave looks amazing but before diving into this post, I want to make a short confession. I deeply admire Google but the depth and scope of Google's influence on society leaves me profoundly frightened. Google's achievements are astounding but those achievements truly threaten the free flow of information even as Google tries to free up the world's information. It's a strange but very real paradox, one the super-geniuses working at Google surely understand. Google is about to unleash a Wave which appears as if it will (again) change the way we communicate and collaborate. If I am interpreting the video demonstration and blog post at the Google Operating System Blog correctly, Google is about to grab the attention of a lot more online eyeballs. Wave could out-do Twitter's efficiency, threaten Microsoft Office products, and put any other email/IM product to shame. It should also freak out Facebook and put the fear into Flickr. As an added bonus, Google's timing in announcing Wave totally stole the thunder from Microsoft's announcement of its improved and newly minted search engine Bing. Read "What Just Happened? Thursday Was Supposed To Be Bing Day" at TechCrunch for a good overview of how Google kneecaps its rivals when it comes to PR. I'm old enough to recall working on the web before Google existed and I've had the historic pleasure of watching Google evolve from a small start-up to become the most powerful information distribution machine in human history. Google's path to success involves idealism, artistry, intellect, blatant idea theft, strong-arm business tactics, obsession, brilliance, simplicity and elegance. Google is not acting evil, they're being super-human. (ed note: a nosh of Nietzsche is well recommended with this whine...) Since founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin decided to trust the wisdom of the coders and base their index on the value of links, Google has consistently taken the soundest ideas of the web and created better mousetraps by combining those ideas into a set of indispensable information products. They then give those products to consumers for free by using targeted advertising to pay for the service. For example, GMail mashes an easily used web-based email system with a super-fast search engine while raising revenues by inserting well targeted Ad-Words advertising. Similarly, Google Maps merges quite efficiently with Google Local search which is a natural platform for Google Ad-Words. When a product or service comes along that might threaten Google one of two things happen. Google gobbles them up through acquisition or Google finds a way to copy the ideas behind that product. Either way, Google merge the idea with other services to create a stronger or better monetized hybrid. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. When Google products find favor with Internet users, they become amazing revenue generators for Google and subsidize one of the most proliferate corporate R&D efforts in modern history. That R&D effort allows for the creation of products that flop or are of use only to very small numbers of Internet users. It allows Google's engineers and developers the right to learn by failure and the latitude to work on crazy ideas that might or might not prove profitable. That's what gives them a tremendous advantage over virtually every other application provider in the world. Now, Google has unleashed Wave, using the same modus operandi they've used so successfully over the past decade. Wave looks like it will be a game changer. In an IM I wrote an hour ago to WebmasterRadio.FM head, SE Guru, I suggested if Wave existed when we started organizing the upcoming Affiliate Convention we would have saved a lot of work and communication headaches with other organizers. If it is anything close to what is shown in its video demonstration, I will be using it to do virtually every collaborative task-set, which pretty much covers virtually everything I do as a SEO, blogger, webmaster, and whatever the hell else I do for an online living. Blending the best of Twitter with document, image, video and object storage, and mashing those with search and social applications, Google Wave is an awesome set of innovations to consider. Google again extends its reach and that extension is so damn useful, there's not a damn thing I would want to do about it... damn.