The Really Big Wave?

Last week, Google’s big announcement was for something called Google Wave – a whole new approach to collaboration among groups, etc.

Google called it a new approach – but, actually, I saw a lot of similarities to the “post-email world” that Ray Ozzie thought a lot about ten years ago prior to starting Groove. Wonder what Ray thinks?

Anyway, let’s set that aside that history for now – the basic idea’s the same: email is insufferable for real collaborative work. It just stinks. We continue to use email for collaboration simply because it’s there. Convenience (!) trumps again.

What I found particularly intriguing about Wave wasn’t the small group collaboration stuff that Google demo’ed but, rather, some big ideas I’ve been thinking about regarding online activities of a commerce kind.

Let’s say you were considering making a purchase of something special – special meaning that it’s worth your time to do more extensive research about it, to get the educated (and trusted) opinions of others who know, and where the supplier may be offering something more than just the everyday low price on the item in question.

In this new Wave world, you might simply start a new Wave – expressing your desires and framing what you need to know to get from maybe to completing a purchase. Sort of like publishing an RFP but with much lower overhead, etc.

You could selectively share your Wave with a) your friends – perhaps via a Wave-enabled social network, b) with other trusted advisors – maybe Consumer Reports, or other reviewers and c) with potential online or local suppliers. If you want to finance it, maybe you also invite in your bank and a couple of competing financing companies.

As this Wave “matures”, you’re getting more and more of your questions answered – and, ultimately, you decide to purchase or not based upon the overall result.

For a while now, Doc Searls has been talking about Vendor Relationship Management and a process similar to what I’ve just described. Perhaps Wave is foundational layer to enabling Doc’s vision of VRM?

Meanwhile, I’m off thinking of other Wave-related ideas that might involved my financial institution, my favorite airline (ugh!), or my real estate broker when buying/selling property.

What do you think?

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