2009-10-20

Google Wave is to the Internet what Lost is to TV

I remember when the TV show Lost first came on the air. People loved it. People who hadn't even seen it loved it and spewed their praise. Years went by and that excitement dwindled but you still had the die hards, screaming for more. Eventually, not wanting to be entirely left out, I sat down and watched an episode. I just didn't get it. I mean I really didn't get it. I wanted to like it but I ultimately just had no clue what was going on.

Google Wave is kind of like that. I got my invite last week and hopped on, extremely excited. But there were no people to interact with. It was like that big desert island in lost. There were supposed to be some people, somewhere on the island, but you don't know their intentions or who they are. I just kind of wandered through the mass of with:public waves trying to catch one that could hold my interest but found nothing.

Unlike Lost though, I think Google Wave just needs critical mass to succeed. I remember when I was an undergrad at Purdue I did the math on GNUnet and determined that in order for it to succeed as a straight P2P network it would require content to be seeded. I went as far as determining that all major P2P networks must have been seeded at some point.

Fortunately Google has the ability to seed Wave with plenty of interesting content and people, more than enough for it to succeed. It will be interesting to see whether Google sees this as another play thing and discards it, as it has with Dodgeball, Notebook, and several other products or lets it play outside the sandbox with all the other big kids like Search, Mail, Maps, etc.

I am bmatheny on Google Wave.