lostcarpark: (Lego Spaceman)
I've been playing with Wave for a couple of weeks now, and I think it's a pretty good idea, but it's going to be a while before it's ready for serious use.

First, while the software is pretty good, there are clearly some gaps around the edges, a few features that say "not implemented yet", and a few nice-to-haves. Obviously it's a preview version, so this is to be expected, and I'm sure it will keep getting better and better.

Second, browsers need to develop. Wave can get quite sluggish at times, especially on big Waves (we've got one with 142 messages plus maps, photos and collaborative drawings (using a plug-in called Canvas). It can be a bit of a drag to navigate. Google Chrome has a pretty fast JavaScript engine, which definitely helps - it's noticably faster than Firefox. However, Wave is a protocol as well as a webapp, so I expect it won't be long before we see desktop Wave apps, just like we have desktop email apps, and these will remove Wave from the browser, and make things a bit easier.

Third, Wave has a lot of potential for corporate use, potentially taking business from Microsoft Office Communicator. However, a lot of companies won't want their content on Google's servers. Fortunately, since Wave is a protocol, they'll be able to set up their own Wave server. I'm not sure when the server software to do this will be released.

Finally, as long as the number of users is restricted, it's going to be of limited use. I presume that this is just to facilitate the preview, and as it develops, it's going to be more generally accessible. For now, we seem to be left feeling, this would be great if only Dave was here...

So I think it has huge potential, but it's probably going to take a couple of years to reach it. For now, it's a lot of fun to play with, but playing is all that's really feasible.

Having said that, if you want to come join us and play with it, I have some spare invite codes. Reply here or drop me an email if you'd like one.
lostcarpark: (Lego Spaceman)
Unless you're ignoring all IT related news (very wise) you'll have heard Google's announcement of their new Chrome OS (I'd post a link, but you might as well just Google for it). Initially aimed at Netbooks, Google hope to later take a slice of the Desktop OS pie later.

So what's in it for Google? After all they're not charging for Chrome OS (or for that matter, Chrome Browser)? Sure, they get money when we look at websites that almost certainly contain Google ads, but they get that anyway when we use a different OS and browser (except for those of us who have installed ad-blocking software).

However, when we look at the web through Google's browser and/or OS, we can potentially be giving Google so much more information about our browsing and general computing activities, and that information becomes incredibly powerful when it comes to delivering us tailored advertising. I'm sure Google won't collect or use that kind of information without asking our permission (with their famous "Please read this, it's not the usual yada-yada"), but I'm sure they'll be working on ever more ingenius carrots to tempt us to give them our consent. There are some wonderful things coming out of Google labs, so perhaps the juciest will be reserved for those complient users who tick the yes box (hmmm, perhaps our government could learn a thing or to about holding referenda from them).

If it takes off, is there a danger that we'll just replace Microsoft dominance with Google dominance?

But that's probably just me being paranoid. I'm actually looking forward to trying it out. It's Linux based, which is surely good. I expect Google will start giving higher priority to getting out Linux versions of it's applications for a start.

The future is good. The future is Chrome. The only price is your soul.
lostcarpark: (Lego Spaceman)
Microsoft want to buy Yahoo and argue that it will be good for competition because the combined entity will be better able to compete against Google. Google disagree, arguing that Microsoft will use their dominance in the operating system arena to push their search engine and advertising.

I know Google want to protect their own strong position, but I think they have a point. Microsoft have used Windows to promote MSN search, Hotmail and to a lesser extent, advertising on MSN.

I've never been convinced by the argument that having less players on the field can be good for competition. It would more likely polarise the market into just MS/Yahoo and Google, with smaller players either getting bought up or pushed out.

There are still niches for smaller players, particularly in specialist areas like blog searches. However, in a polarised market, I think it would be much harder for these to survive. And that can hardly be a good thing.

Let's hope the competition authorities will see sense and tell Microsoft to back off.
lostcarpark: (Lego Spaceman)
Those clever people at Google are at it again.

They've now launched Google Base an online database that allows you to submit content in a database format to be hosted wither on your own website or on Google itself, and is searchable from within the Google search engine.

This could be pretty useful if you have a database driven website, as it allows information to be submitted to the search engine in a way that better facilitates searching than a conventional webcrawler can.

It also has the potential increase Google's stranglehold on the world supply of information should they ever decide to become Evil.

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