Big Tin

Big tin: IT infrastructure used by organisations to run their businesses. And other stuff too when I feel like it…

Google Wave: is it evil?

I just finished watching the whole hour of Google’s presentation of Wave, its new collaboration tool. It’s a fascinating idea, bringing together a multitude of communication tools, such as email and instant messaging, while making them more intuitive to use.

From the demo of the early developer code, you could see that the threading of conversations happens naturally, even when not all participants are involved from the start, while you can still keep parts of the conversation private. You can see messages in real time as you type (not good for poor typists) or you can do it in a more familiar ‘type and hit Return’ kind of way.

Content isn’t restricted to text, it can be anything that the developer chooses to add; the demo, which happened at Google IO, its recent devcon. And of course it’s all hosted in the cloud: all you need is a browser.

The idea looks great, the elimination of boundaries between IM and email is a liberating idea because you can still use it just like email — that is, you can choose when to answer messages and not be jumping around to someone else’s set of priorities — it’s smarter, and the browser becomes the only communication tool you need.

So why is it that I found myself wondering if this is really such a good thing? Two things: firstly I’m concerned about the fragmentation of email. Let’s assume Google Wave become insanely popular. Even so, there will always be people who aren’t using Wave but who stick to email and IM. It means you now have another communication channel to understand and manage. That’s on top of the Facebooks, the Twitters, the MySpaces and so on, all of which have private channels of communication that you need to check.

And then there’s the deeper concern: am I really comfortable trusting Google with my communications? With email I can choose from hundreds of suppliers and dozens of pieces of software. None of them want to index and understand my content even remotely on the scale that Google does. And when, due to some force majeure, it drops its ‘do no evil’ philosophy (assuming you buy into that idea from a Wall Street-quoted public company), what then?

Is this just me being paranoid?

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6 Responses

  1. Alexa Radcliffe says:

    RE: “And then there’s the deeper concern: am I really comfortable trusting Google with my communications? With email I can choose from hundreds of suppliers and dozens of pieces of software. None of them want to index and understand my content even remotely on the scale that Google does.”

    But just think, first there was one or two suppliers of email etc, how long will it take for other companies to tag onto the ideas that Google Wave is providing? There no doubt will be choice who you can ‘trust’ in the future.

  2. Billy MacInnes says:

    I think you’re being paranoid, but rightly so. If every thing works out as you fear, you will surely attain the ultimate aim of all paranoids: to be proved right.

  3. When it’s open sourced, you can use as you choose.

  4. […] Wave erzeugte bei der Ankündigung eine große Aufmerksamkeitswelle. Das Thema Privacy ist dabei zwar berücksichtigt worden, aber ein wesentlicher Punkt ist dabei noch vollkommen unberücksichtigt geblieben: das Tracking […]

  5. Schnitzer says:

    Google Wave is Satanic.

  6. Google comes every time with new and unique concept. No doubt Google Wave will also get popularity like other platform introduce by Google. I am just looking forward to get Google Waves.

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