If you were completely disconnected from the internet yesterday, you did not hear that Google announced a new product/platform called Wave. According to various quotes, they wanted to create a product as if email was invented today. I call bullshit. Even on their blog they say that it is more than just email:
Google Wave is a new communication and collaboration tool that lets people work together more productively online.
Does that sounds like a fancy email client? No, I do not think so. Google Wave is much bigger than email. Google owns search, but they have been making strides in various areas. GMail was a very good incremental improvement, but Google knows you need to be disruptive to really own something. So, they decided to revamp the email interface, make the interface extendible and automatable, and create a whole new protocol. And to make things even more disruptive, the protocol is completely open, so anyone can create a wave server of their very own. Not only did they try to eliminate existing email clients, they want to become the dominant form of electronic communication. SMTP, XMPP and any microblogging APIs are nice, but they have just tried to unify everything under one specification.
What is more interesting is that they have based the wave protocol on XMPP, and this is really just an extension of XMPP core. By doing this, they can leverage the existing infrastructure of XMPP servers. With the extension model they have defined, there can also be simple bridges between Wave and SMTP, core XMPP, Twitter, Facebook and any other near real-time specification.
Obviously, with this release, Google shows how much they were worried about the real-time web. If it is not clear to you yet, Google just showed us the first integrated real time communications client. This is not a Twitter killer, it is a communication enabler. The teams that really need to worry are Seesmic Desktop, Tweetdeck and PeopleBrowsr. They all started as Twitter clients and are working their way out to other platforms like Facebook. Google showed that they even have a small Twitter widget ready. They also showed collaboration widgets and gaming widgets. Much of the functionality talked about with Wave is currently bolted onto Twitter which is why third party services like TwitPic and others also need to worry. There will now be a mad rush to see how many products can be released with Google Wave support.
Google Wave just redefined the rules. Let’s see who can play the new game.