Google Wave: The Future of Real-Time Internets & Web Communication

Google Wave Logo
Google Wave Logo

Holy radio waves, Batman! The folks over at Google Wave made a huge splash yesterday. Led by Lars Rasmussen, Jens Rasmussen and Stephanie Hannon, Google Wave is a real-time collection of chat, IM, and other real-time apps, and it’s quickly moving to integrate with Google Docs and Gmail. As for the nerdy details, Google Wave is built on the Google Web Toolkit, using HTML 5, and it is interoperable. Furthermore, Google plans to launch the Wave code as open source. Here’s a screenshot released by the Google Wave Dev Team:

Google Wave Combines Chat, IM, Friendfeed, Docs, Pictures, etc...
Google Wave Combines Chat, IM, Friendfeed, Docs, Pictures, etc...

Fun fact: Lars and Jens are brothers from Denmark. They founded Where2, a mapping company that was acquired by Google and is now known as Google Maps. From the way that Lars and Jens describe Google Wave, it’s almost like they are discussing the email of the future. It totally reminds me of those kitchens from the 1950’s, where they would advertise “The Kitchen of Tomorrow – Today!

I think if email was invented today, it would be like Google Wave. It’s like dragging email and chat into real time., so you can do both at the same time within the same tool. Both Yahoo and Google have tried to merge chat with their email services. And I think I have even seen the same thing in my Hotmail account. But matching chat and email has not been a seemless experience to date. Google Wave goes way beyond the current methods of shoe-horning chat into email platforms. Everything in Google Wave is real-time. From the look of it, Wave is more like Facebook in nature. There are pictures, links and docs, and everyone can comment on any given element.

I guess the big question is: Will Google Wave ultimately kill other Google products like Gmail, Google, Talk, Picasa, Google Docs, and Blogger? Also, will Google Wave kill Twitter, Friendfeed, IM, Chat, and other real-time apps or services?¬† The answer: probably not. I’m fairly certain that Google engineers could go after any service and effectively design a better wheel if they wanted to, but the factor that will make Google Wave so compelling is not it’s ability to destroy any current real-time services. Rather, the thing that makes the future capabilities Google Wave so intriguing is the fact that they are opening up the protocols from the beginning. [Note: In the long run, they plan to release a “lion share” of the source code, and they are going to open up a ton of the code early on.] Furthermore, if I know Google well enough, they are probably thinking more about integrating with other currently-popular services, like Twitter, rather than aiming to destroy them.

Google Wave Chat & Email
Google Wave Chat & Email

The Google Wave team has created a platform that can be taken and used by third parties. Unlike Twitter, data does not have to be stored on a Google server. Because of this, hundreds or thousands of third parties may create Wave systems, and just imagine the possibilities for apps and extensions! No matter where you create a Wave account, you should be able to communicate with other Wave users. Or if a team of developers wants to create and run a Wave server for private use within their company, that is possible to. The data will remain on their Wave server and never be seen outside of their corporate network. And to add to the excitement, Google Wave offers people the opportunity to collaborate on projects. Did I mention the open architecture and APIs? Wow. What didn’t they think of?

While everyone is still digesting the capabilities and possibilities of Google Wave, it’s clear that the concept has the chance to revolutionize the way we communicate on the web. Wave is a gigantic undertaking. It’s like the Swiss Army knife of popular internet services, and that is going to make it an interesting Google product to watch. Google expects to keep Wave limited to a developer preview product for several more months. I know they have invited people to sign up for updates. If you want a shot at early access, I suggest you sign up, too. You never know. You just might get lucky enough to have another internet-based social distraction. But that’s what we live for, right? ūüôā

PS. How will Yahoo and MSN respond to this? What about Facebook, MySpace and Twitter? I’m definitely interested in their responses. Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, has made Google Wave one of the projects he is putting his time into. So unlike other Google products that whither and die due to lack of support, Google Wave has the support and attention of the co-founder of Google. Me thinks he won’t let this product fail. It’s too good of an idea. In the spirit of friendly competition, I hope Yahoo and MSN are working on something to compete with Google Wave. Good luck to all competitors. I think you’ll need it.

Here is the video of the 80-minute presentation from yesterday at Google I/O:

Ever Wonder About Internet Traffic in Japan?

I always hear about China driving the most search traffic in Asia. And I always hear about China being a very coveted market for internet advertising. Well, good for you, China. So glad you are kicking so much ass over there. I’m glad that you have 253 million web users. Does anyone even know¬†which country¬†comes in second place in internet usage in Asia? Well, if the title of this post gives away anything, it is the answer to that question. Japan! Yes, Japan has 94 million internet users.¬†That data¬†is from this site, so hopefully it’s accurate. At any rate, I have an empathetic gene that apparently makes me stick up for the guy finishing in second place. With this post, I just want to make sure more attention gets paid to internet usage in Japan. So here I go. Before I get started, let’s make sure you know that Yahoo! is not the same as Yahoo! Japan. Yahoo Japan is a separate company altogether, but it’s nearly worth as much as Yahoo. In fact, US-based Yahoo! owns 34% of Yahoo! Japan.

Uh. Where to start? How about we look at visitor data for Yahoo Japan and Google Japan. Together, these two engines drive 72 million unique japanese visitors per month (Yahoo Japan has 46 million, Google Japan has 26 million). In graph form, it looks like this:

Monthly Japanase Unique Visitors for Yahoo.co.jp and Google.co.jp
Monthly Japanase Unique Visitors for Yahoo.co.jp and Google.co.jp

Holy crap! Do you see that? Who would have thought that Yahoo Japan destroys Google Japan for monthly unique Japanese visitors? Not me. If you happened to be debating this topic at your local pub the other night, I’m glad I can help settle the debate. Yahoo Japan clearly wins. And it doesn’t stop there. In terms of monthly pageviews, Yahoo Japan has 21.9 billion, while Google Japan only has 2.2 billion. Yahoo Japan wins again! (Yes, I admit that graph doesn’t make much sense because it’s talking about percentages. But I like graphs where one part looks like it’s eating the other part!)

Now let’s look at Alexa Japan’s rankings for the top 3 sites in Japan:

Alexa Japan: Top Sites in Japan (Feb. 2009)
Alexa Japan: Top Sites in Japan (Feb. 2009)

Holy crap! It looks like Yahoo.co.jp is the #1 site Japan. How about that? Where you at Google Japan? While I did say that I like to stick up for #2, I would rather not stick up for Google in this post. Google rules everything, everywhere else around the world pretty much. I’m going to let Yahoo Japan enjoy this victory. They deserve it. Ah, but I am empathetic, so I should point out that Alexa¬†Japan¬†has YouTube.com at #4 and Google.com at #8. That’s right. Google has 3 sites in the Alexa Top 10 in Japan. They may not be #1 in the market, but they definitely have enough representation in the Top 10.

Well, that’s all I’ve got today. Just a cool look under the hood of the battle for internet exposure in Japan. But before I go, here are some stats I found for Yahoo! and Yahoo! Japan for 2007:

  • Yahoo Japan’s worth is about $22B in Tokyo Stock Exchange (Yahoo worth about $27B)
  • Yahoo Japan’s sales hit $2.4B (Yahoo’s sales hit about $7B in the US)
  • Yahoo Japan’s net income for 2007 was $570M (Yahoo was about $660M)
  • Yahoo US has about 138M monthly unique visitors (Google US has about 133M)

For those of you wondering where I got all this information…uh…I found it on the internet somewhere. From different places and stuff.

Google Going Pac-Man on All Other Search Engines

I saw this data the other day, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Google is going Pac-Man on those other search engines
Google is going Pac-Man on those other search engines

You remember Pac-Man, don’t you? He would bust out of this prison-like cell and then start eating up everything in site. It brings back memories just thinking about it. And Ms. Pac-Man? Yeah, she was smoking hot. But I digress…

Clearly Google is morphing into Pac-man. Google continues to eat up the competition in the U.S. Keep in mind that in most other countries, especially in Europe, Google is driving >90% of all search traffic. Together, Google+Yahoo+MSN account for 96% of all search traffic in the U.S. You e-commerce marketing directors better make sure you’ve got your sites listed in those search engines. However, you should pay extra close attention to Google. If you’re not ranking in the top 3 pages for your important keywords, you need to make that a top priority, or soon your business might go tits-up like Circuit City (not that they had trouble ranking for stuff, but you know what I mean). Also, you should not forget about Yahoo. I’ve got friends who work with the Yahoo paid inclusion program, and I know that program is the most reliable way to break into the top 10 results on Yahoo. It’s like having paid ads appear in the organic listings. And you can track all of it! Yahoo’s 18% market share is nothing to sneeze at, so make sure you have a paid inclusion feed running on Yahoo.

In the spirit of video games, I’d like to continue this post, though I know it should have just ended. With Google turning into Pac-Man in pie graphs around the world, I thought it might be fun to give the competition some fun nicknames. Here are Pac-Man’s original enemies from the arcade game:

Pac-Man's Enemies from the original 1980 Pac-Man arcade

Notice that there are 4 ghost characters: Shadow (aka Blinky), Speedy (aka Pinky), Bashful (aka Inky), and Pokey (aka Clyde). I kinda like these guys. I, too, would be pissed if some yellow freak was on my property eating all of my stuff. Google also has 4 competitors:

Character / Nickname
Yahoo / Can’t Follow 301 Redirects
MSN / Can’t do a link: command
Ask / 302 on the Homepage
Other / Excite Who?

I really don’t see any of the these guys closing the gap on Google. I know Obama is promising change, but I don’t think these percentages are going to start going the other way. I mean, Google is now a verb in our vernacular. Good luck to Yahoo and MSN in overcoming that obstacle.

Well that’s it for now. Until next time. Make like some trees and get outta here.