Monday, January 18, 2010

Does Google Wave have SharePoint Envy?

The web is abuzz. Although this is supposed to be the normal mode of web activity, what we are seeing right now is not just plain buzz, but something that on closer inspection reveals a pattern – one that is potentially doing to convert the web as we know it into something that we will have to get used to, one consisting in a challenge retour between the big G (for Google) and the big M (for Microsoft). The latest event falling into the pattern referred to is a developer preview of Google Wave at the Google I/O conference.
The app, which wraps e-mail, instant messaging, blogs’n’wikis, document sharing, and more neatly together, is to be released to the public later this year. Google Wave’s being defined as “a new tool for communication and collaboration on the web” has spurred a tide (connotation not intended) of SharePoint parallels, especially with the app being open-source and thus extendable. As seen by some, Wave poses an immediate threat to SharePoint the collaboration platform. This assumption stumbles upon at least two counterarguments: first, Wave is primarily web-, not enterprise-oriented; second, in enterprise environments, Office is not in the least likely to be phased out anytime soon, although Google apps are developing in their due course with a share of smaller businesses try to optimize their work by moving it to the cloud. Other important concerns include security and regulation. Therefore I find it safe to believe for now that speculations on SharePoint being withered by the new Google thing are somewhat premature.
Nevertheless, it is obvious that the innovation retour is going to escalate as time passes and solutions get tested out, with rivals enhancing and complementing each other’s achievements.