The recent Google Wave announcement has caused considerable interest amongst us online social media geeks. There’s a lot published about what it is and how brilliant it will be so I’ll avoid that here. Instead, I’ll just make one observation: Google Wave can be privately hosted.
That’s quite important. I work for a consulting firm and we have lots of meetings and our face-to-face collaborative behaviours are great but there is room to enhance this with better use of online collaborative tools. The challenge is that as an organisation we have to be wary of these because of the data security implications.
Many of the existing collaborative platforms are web based and we cannot introduce a platform where data (including consultants’ work related conversations) has to leave our organisation as it would be in contravention of our security practices. That’s not the case with Wave.
I appreciate that Wave is not the first to do this, there’s Microsoft’s SharePoint, Lockheed’s Eureka and presumably some others. But Wave is most likely the coolest. It is whizzy with lots of features that we can imagine using. It is cross platform and we can continue Waving on our Blackberries. (Is it going to be termed “waving?”) Many of us already use Google tools so the learning curve is not as steep.
So yes – part of the attraction is the feature base, but in reality without the ability to be privately hosted many corporates would not even consider such a tool. It’s the baseline for entry, and that makes it one of the killer features.
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Note, I was thinking this after reading Lockheed develops open source, social media framework (CivSource) and Mid-Year 2009 Predictions for the Future of Social Media (Ignite Social Media).
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In case you’re not sure what I’m banging on about, here’s the Google Wave announcement video.