Data Collaboration: a Google Wave Vision

Instead of working in isolation out on the Google Wave Sandbox, I finally got an invite to the public preview, where all the cool kids are getting their feet wet. It has led me to ponder if all technology/software innovations are a case of the chicken or the egg.

The first obvious Wave application is chat.. and so chat happens. and happens and happens. ( even when it doesn’t make sense). People start speculating about what this technology will replace, what will “die” as a result.

Someone “saw” that waves would be interesting for an RPG, made a dicebot and the word got out. Now there are all imaginable forms of RPG gathering in the waves… many still to just discuss and make character sheets, rather than ongoing campaigns.

Someone made a sudoko gadget and there are a multitude of waves where people are collaboratively or competitively playoing sudoku.

The Google Wave infrastructure is truly a case of “build it and they will come”. What is missing is a groundswell of the public asking for functionality. It is all experimental and folks are still building toward Ah Ha moments, so perhaps there will be more of this in the weeks to come. Here is the the thing I wish more people got: Google Wave is not just about real time collaboration. Google Wave is the first functional separation of data from application.

Data exists. I can create it in a Wave, embed it in a blog, share it on twitter, entangle it with a word doc, a presentation or a spreadsheet. It does not matter which application you use to view or interact with the data, you will see the same data, the same updates and the same edits. Because the data is separate from any one application, it is very easy to pass the data to other applications, transform it, visualize it or sync it to other data streams.

This is the truly mind blowing fact that seems to be slipping through the cracks because the functional demonstration of it is not quite finished. What will you do with your data when you can have it any (and every) where?

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