Earlier today I stumbled across an interesting article over on mashable.com. In it the author, Ben Parr, asks: Google Wave: Is the World Ready?
(In case you haven’t heard about Google Wave [wikipedia entry]: It’s a soon to be launched service that aims to combine e-mail, instant messaging, social networking and wiki-like features into a single coherent package. If I remember correctly one of the tag lines at its introduction was something along the lines of: what e-mail would look like if it were invented today)
The article makes some good points about Google Wave breaking many of the currently established online communication patters which might not necessarily fly with many users. Subsequently the author draws the conclusion that Google Wave will either succeed spectacularly or completely bomb.
In my mind this is somewhat of an odd statement to make given that on the Internet many forms of communication are used in parallel. I for example use e-mail, blogging, twitter, forums, wikis, IRC, (to a lesser degree these days) instant messaging and (very seldomly) Facebook. All of these communication tools have their specific up- and downsides, yet at the end of the day I use all of them.
Now even if Google Wave turns out to be the best thing since sliced bread it won’t completely replace all of these other tools. Initially it would probably find a niche (e.g. communicating with my more geeky friends and university colleagues) and then slowly start taking over some of the other communication tasks. However each technology / platform has its set of advantages which will result in it being used.
I therefore view Google Wave as an additional offer that, based on what I’ve seen so far, could be quite attractive for many purposes. But it won’t take over as my single way of communication and I believe the majority of the other 1.5 billion using the Internet today will feel the same way. Hence Google Wave will probably neither be a total failure nor an astounding success but rather something in between (like most other technologies).