Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Google Wave: The Next Revolution?

24th October, 2009

Last week when I had a bit of a look at Google Wave, a lot of people mentioned how it didn’t really seem like a complete product, something that was a bit of a let-down.

I’ve been having a bit of a think, and I think I can see where this one’s going.

I read a comment on a blog earlier today by Robert Scoble, and he had it exactly right when he said FriendFeed had it nearly right before they got absorbed by Facebook. I think the future is going to look a lot more like FriendFeed than anyone dares to think. Here’s why:

First of all, FriendFeed had it right - aggregate your content from all over the web into one place. The idea was there, but the implementation was pretty shocking. So when I say the future is going to look like FriendFeed, I mean it’s probably not *visually *going to look like FriendFeed - that would suck.

I also don’t think it’s going to look like Google Wave - that is once again a shocking interface. But Google Wave once again has an important idea, one that not many other people have “got” to the same extent: content is king, and every kind of content is even better. I can put Youtube videos, maps, polls, and as many plugins as developers care to write into Wave, and that is what is really awesome about it.

I’m not entirely convinced Twitter is going to be the future. Look at where we’ve come from - essentially WordPress and Blogger - and now we’re at Twitter. There aren’t any more niches you can get out of content, and I’m not likely to sign up to a social network where you get fewer than 140 characters. By far the best bit about Twitter is that you can make it what you want - publish what you want, follow who you want, and let those who follow you read your message.

So what about the behemoth that is Facebook (relatively, at least)? Well they do have some good features (like embedding different types of content) but also some terrible features (the entire Applications thing needs to be taken out and shot, and quickly).

If it’s not really FriendFeed, not really Wave nor Facebook, Twitter nor Blogger, what is the next step going to be? I think it’s going to be a combination of the best bits of all of these, drawn together into one very awesome platform.

Something like this:

If one platform can accomplish all of those features and do them well, I think they will have a very strong candidacy for “the next big thing”.