The coming wave

/ 28 May 2009

I had my plans for this evening, getting to bed early, maybe watching an episode of The Wire. But no, I made the mistake of catching a blog post about Google Wave. On Google’s site I found this video from a presentation yesterday about this technology that has the potential to unite our disparate forms of electronic communication.

Yeah, one and a half hours long. But it will open your eyes to the similarities between our many modes of communication and the power unleashed when we pull them together. Google things big. In this case, they are thinking of replacing email, instant messaging, twitter, blogs, wikis, and more… all with a simple wave. A wave is a shared communication space. To make it ubiquitous enough to replace half of what we do on the net, Google is releasing the protocol, an API, and most of the source code for their own wave client. Protocol and API documentation are available now, source code should be available well before they take the project live by the end of the year.

The fly in the ointment: spam. I would hope that developing a new network communication framework from the ground up might give us an opportunity to design in the kind of tripwires and security that would prevent spam. Unfortunately, it sounds like the Google team has not really given spam much thought. Uh oh. It could be that the wave model takes away the free ride spam enjoys in some fundamental ways (for example, whatever system starts a wave seems to then host that wave long-term), but I have great faith in the ingenuity of spammers. How long before they spoil this party?

Now maybe I can get some sleep!

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