Google Wave, the e-mail, instant messaging, file sharing and social networking prototype application, rolled out to 6,000 programmers in a developer preview Monday, sparking spirited articles from those who have tested it. Analysts discuss the enterprise prospects of Google Wave with eWEEK and wonder whether Wave might replace Google Apps as a messaging and collaboration platform.
Some of the 6,000 programmers Google provided a developer
preview for Google Wave
, the experimental platform that
blends e-mail, instant messaging and social networking in one communications palette,
about the application.
For most of us who can't use it, their words are our
guide until Sept. 30, which is when Google will set the Wave
to 100,000 general population users who have signed up to test it from
the Wave home
It's early days for Wave, which is not expected to be
commercialized for a couple years, but Wave has the potential to significantly augment,
if not replace, some of the components in Google Apps. Google Apps includes Google's
Gmail, Google Docs, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Video for businesses
and the Google Sites wiki app.
Google Wave, as it currently exists in prototype form,
performs many of the functions of those apps. Ben Rometsch, technical director
for Solid State Group
, a content
management and Web development agency based in London, provided the most
detailed review of the prototype, which drew wild applause when it was introduced at Google I/O in May
wrote July 21
"... it's a bunch of shared IM conversations that
are organized like e-mail messages and stored on the server for time immemorial...
It serves as an IM, IRC and E-mail server, but you can also do things that you
might not necessarily first think of, such as using it as a simple wiki with
shared editing and history... Gadgets let you drop in pretty much anything into
a conversation; chess boards, maps, videos and anything else that people
eWEEK July 22 asked Rometsch if Wave is the type of thing
he would use in his business to replace Solid State's existing communications
tools. He said: yes, "in the future we will definitely be using it."
"We're not a big firm - 18 people, but we use a lot
of different communications tools: Wiki, IM, IRC, e-mail, Google Calendar and I
can see it replacing a lot of those," Rometsch said.
However, he added
that Google Wave isn't ready for production, noting that the app is
unstructured. Moreover, he had to reload his browser every 20 minutes because
Solid State Group is a small shop, but it could serve as a
helpful blueprint for the promise of Wave in small and midsize businesses.
Many such shops are using legacy Microsoft Office and SharePoint applications,
or Google Apps and other free or low-cost Web applications to communicate and
share content. Still, once the bugs and crashing kinks are worked out, Wave could
revolutionize the market for unified communication and collaboration tools as it