Google Wave, Marketing And The Future Of Connecting

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On May 28th, 2009, Google announced a new solution at their Google I/O Developer Conference in California called, Google Wave, and it’s already causing some major ripples of discussion.

Described by Google as "a new model for communication and collaboration on the web," many industry pundits and technology Bloggers says it’s more like creating a bunch of independent online social networks that are based on a marriage of email and instant messaging. Each "page" or online social networking area is called a "wave." Within it you can have conversations and share documents in real time. It’s not just about text either. The platform allows people to communicate and collaborate with any form of rich media (this includes text, photos, videos, maps and more). Any participant can reply and connect anywhere in the message as well as being able to edit the content and add participants. The waves also includes a "playback" feature that allows people who may have joined later in the wave to "rewind" all of the content.

Is Google Wave the next generation of the live web?

While the platform is still in development (it’s looking like it will be publicly available later in the year), one of the major features and functionality that Google is promoting is how "live" the platform is. This includes a live transmission as you type (I seem to recall ICQ instant messaging having this feature as well) which will enable people to have faster conversations, see edits as they are happening and interact in real-time. The platform is also pushing the ability to drag and drop items and make the Web a much more friendlier/easier place for everyone to connect, share, build and grow.

Is Google Wave good for Marketers?

It is way too early to tell, but there are some indications that if a platform like Google Wave does take off, it will fragment the concept of an online social network and splinter it down to a place where these areas are not used by masses to congregate and boast how many friends or connections they have, but perhaps the metric becomes how many waves individuals are engaged with and how active the conversation and collaboration is. The platform obviously creates much more targeted inventory for advertising with the Google AdWords model (much like it does over at Gmail), but depending on how open or private these waves will be, this could also be one of those moments in time where people shift from having their opinions out in public, back into smaller, cozier and more personal conversations in a Google Wave.

Imagine brands inviting their consumers into a Google Wave – be it for customer service, product development or simply to discuss brand evangelism. This could become the highly personalized online social network many of us have been waiting for.

In the meantime, you can watch the hour-plus-long video of the unveiling of Google Wave right here:


  1. Mitch,
    I’m particularly intrigued by how marketers could create their own Wave pages, and offer a completely new and different experience to customers and potential customers that offered everything from customer service and sales/marketing marketing to engagement and community building tools.

  2. In my mind, Google Wave is (or should I say “may become”, since it’s still in the works) sort of an Intranet/Extranet 2.0.
    Marketers would probably use its “Extranet” features in order to better connect with their customers.

  3. The trick will be to get the tool from the early adopter community into the mainstream in a more timely fashion. It took 2 + years for Twitter to hit the mainstream. I doubt Google wants to wait that long. Of course they have their brand behind them, that could make the difference.

  4. Mitch,
    Colaboration seems to be the future of how we will do business in the next generation of online applications.
    I often say our current social media platforms are the training wheels for how we will do business in the future.
    You are correct. It will fragment and impact the current social media landscape. And yes, it will impact marketers trying to use social media as an advertising/marketing model.
    Google is heading in the right direction (for Google), in my opinion.

  5. After watching the developer preview I became very excited with the possibility of a complete communication interface with our members/clients. To be able to connect all interactions done with one person through email, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, etc. in one single flow with playback facility would be amazing.
    For example I started a conversation with Mary on Twitter, then we moved on to email, we have become friends on Facebook and pursued our discussions there too – we also exchanged few words on Skype for instant feedback about a problem. If I could have a complete thread of all these consversations in a single wave it would be spectacular. And so useful. I know we’re very far from that but one can dream!
    I will definitely be an early adopter and follow its developpment very closely. I can think of so many applications for Google Wave – just their little demo with the translation ability opens up instant communication with the whole world. For an organization like ours with clients in more than 100 countries this could be a fantastic boost to our expansion and quality of service.
    My sense is that Google is taking us to a whole new level of unified interaction. My mind is filled with many more ideas but I’ll have to be patient…

  6. This is going to change more than business communication, but family communication, conferencing, e-mail. (Could this be the end of e-mail?) Wave will also change gaming, education, blogging, news gathering , search, public social media integration, digital file management…..
    Start thinking, because it’s all changing.

  7. IMO, this is more like what web 2.0 should be…truly interactive 2-way communication, in Real Real-Time, ie, immediately. Maybe this represents web 2.5
    Also appreciate the approach of being forthcoming & straightforward re: Beta status (& def open source).
    From this perspective it’s largely a different approach to status quo we’ve become accustomed via Microsoft.
    So, Big Kudo’s for getting it right…again.
    Now, can ya hook me up with a ticket for #socialmedia conf @ Google next month?
    Kirk Abraham

  8. I really enjoyed your points about the possible ‘splintering’ pf social networks. It would seem a very positive development. In the real world I don’y have exactly X friends. I have people that I interact with for different purposes. For recreation, for companionship, for work, family, etc.. The quality of life is determined by how I work with them in different capacities, which is what Wave will facilitate. Who cares (or even knows) how many ‘friends’ one has.

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