Down under in southern Australia, Google engineers have developed a program that will revolutionize a key part of every business: trying to get information from one person to another without botching the meaning or context like a game of telephone.
Wave, which is still in beta testing, is hard to explain but mind-blowing to witness.
Let’s say you run a shipping company in Richmond and are working on opening an office in Fredericksburg. You need to meet with your launch team, but you don’t want to make the hour-long drive or pay for expensive web conferencing sites. Right now there is no easy way to have the online equivalent of the necessary conference call.
If I want to go over my business plan with my launch team in Fredericksburg, I might type it up in a GoogleDoc and share it with everyone else who is in my wave, which can be added from my contacts list. But now, in Wave, we can all sit down together and edit the document live while communicating through instant messaging. Each mark-up can be seen the instant it is performed on the other computer. Hot-diggity. This solves one of the biggest irritations of GoogleDocs.
Each person who is on your wave can edit the document live, and every keystroke can be seen on every computer. Each user sees the same screen, and the messaging occurs on the same screen as your document.
Wave will also take email to a new level – integrating it with as many of your contacts as you want to share it with.
If you and your legal partner are discussing a case and you want your paralegals to research certain items in the email, create a wave. You compose your email in the wave and drag all your contacts into it. Your paralegals can read the email, make additions in sidebars and get back to you on the information you requested. So instead of a long email chain that gets bounced around to 15 people and becomes a hassle to read, the entire chain is in the wave. You can see exactly who made what addition where and when.
If you don’t want everyone in the wave to see the change you made to the email, you would set the update to private and add the contacts you want to read it, excluding those you don’t.
And for those Twitterers out in BizSense Nation, Wave gives you the ability to update your social media sites right from your Wave, so that you don’t have to log on to five different websites to do your online networking. In tech circles, there is already buzz about Wave killing Facebook, because you can upload pictures and other media to Wave and share it only with those contacts who you want to share it with.
So no longer do you have to worry about your boss (who for some odd reason you accepted as a Facebook friend) seeing pictures of you draining your 10th beer of the night and draping your arm drunkenly around a cocktail waitress. You can share those with that group of enablers you call your drinking buddies.
Wave will also greatly enhance communications for those who do business in other countries. Your contact in Mexico can type his message to you in Spanish, and it will show up on your screen in English.
Software programmers will be able to have a field day with Google Wave because it is open-source software, meaning that anyone can create or add on to existing Wave software, unlike Microsoft programs, where what they develop is static.
If you think this sounds good, you should see the demo.
David Larter reviews technology once a week for BizSense. Please send technology tips to [email protected]
We saw this video live and watched it again at the request of some clients, then talked with one of the developers who has access to their code and experience with the Google toolkit. In a nutshell: This is not for children in terms of making a business model around it work. There could be some potential with Google Wave for addressing some needs of highly fragmented audiences, but both the cost/benefit might require high margins and the adaption curve is steep. My advice: Don’t be the early mover on Google Wave unless you have deep pockets and a very… Read more »