Saturday, December 26, 2009

Will Google Wave kill Facebook?

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On the 30th of September 2009, Google will be giving out 100,000 invites to people who have registered to be among the first to try out Google Wave. In case you haven’t heard, this is a new and revolutionary Google application that could very well turn online communication and collaboration completely on its head.

Take a look at this abridged version of the Google Wave presentation (below) to find out what the fuss is all about, or watch Google’s whole 80 minute presentation here.

What do you think? E-mail, instant messaging and all the other online collaboration tools we have grown accustomed to using are starting to look so primitive and outdated all of a sudden, aren’t they?

How does Google Wave work?

Google Wave gets its power from the fact that the streams of communication, called waves, are hosted on Google’s servers and are able to update web browsers in real time with a whole variety of content. That, and the fact that your Wave communications are so much more organised, accessible and easy to manage.

For example, when someone sends you a message on Wave, you can branch it out into separate threads and reply to each part separately and even edit the parts you want. If the other person is online at the time, the whole Wave experience transforms into real-time mode, where you can instantly start having a text chat from within your web browser and collaborate to edit the same content at the same time, with your changes instantly visible to the other party.

It is also easy to add new participants to the wave or restrict parts of a wave to just some of the participants. People who join an existing wave have the option to play through the previous conversation step by step. This makes it easy to catch up with what was going on as though you had been there right from the start. Another great feature is that you can also embed whole waves in your blogs and websites, and instantly update the sites with images, text and whatever you post to the wave.

Add to that the fact that Google Wave can be extended by third-party developers, who are already working to create a host of extra applications and the possibilities for online communication are truly endless!

Is this the beginning of the end of Facebook?

Google wave has adopted a stream design similar to Facebook’s new user interface, where information from other people flows to you. But Wave has the potential to be much more than just Facebook on steroids. While Facebook limits you to communication with your friends, Google Wave lets you connect with absolutely anyone in your address book. This gives it a much wider scope as a tool for interacting with clients, prospects and just about anybody on the web.

So, will Wave kill Facebook and other social networks? That’s the big question!

Right now, our crystal ball is very misty on this issue. After all, Facebook users already have years worth of photos, videos and other information on the network, which they probably won’t just dispose of in a blink of an eye. Nevertheless, the challenge is most definitely on! Will Google Wave end up dominating, or will Facebook and other social networks evolve into something even better still?

It’s too early to say, but one thing is certain: the social Internet is poised for yet another change that will put more power into the hands of those who are willing to adopt the new technology. What is now a wave on the horizon, could very well turn out to be a tsunami that will change the social media marketing landscape once again, so keep your eyes open. The guys over at Facebook most definitely are!