Google Wave vs Microsoft Vine: Who wins the Next Big Thing contest?

Posted by andreaitis on May 29, 2009

Google unveiled its Next Big Thing at the  I/O Developer conference this week.   Geeks everywhere are drooling all over their keyboards, waiting to get their twitchy fingers on Google Wave.  A project more than four years in the making, its primary goal is to bring all communication needs together in a single, fluid experience.

A “wave” is equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

Google Wave

Here’s how it works: In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. It’s concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content — it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use “playback” to rewind the wave and see how it evolved.

Official Google Blog: Went Walkabout. Brought back Google Wave

Sounds pretty cool…but, also sounded a little familiar…and then I remembered another recent announcement, microsoft-vinefrom another big gig company: Microsoft Vine, blending Twitter, Facebook and Google in its own  attempt to be the Next Big Thing.

They are not identical offerings, but they are trending in the same direction and there is some overlap.    Microsoft is taking a more traditional approach, looking at a particular type of communication between smaller groups,  and trying to make that multi-dimensional with mapping, alerts and location (see the demo here).  Google is using a much broader definition, thinking about communication tied to personal interaction, work and collaboration, in addition to streamlining tools we currently use.  If Google succeeds, email, IM, texting and twittering may merge into a single experience.

With Wave and Vine in the works and the continuing Twitter buzz, we see what our future holds.  The next phase of digital innovation will focus on  social and  real-time aspects of communication, search and mobility.   With hope, that means greater flexibility and interaction using fewer tools and devices.

Who will conquer this world?  When you add Wave to Android, Chrome, Maps, Earth, Gmail, Gtalk and (of course) Search…the smart money’s still on Google.   I say that begrudgingly because, at the end of the day, it all comes at a price.   Big Brother’s not watching.  Google is.


6 Responses to “Google Wave vs Microsoft Vine: Who wins the Next Big Thing contest?”

  1. I agree, I’d put my money on Google. From a strategic standpoint, I think MSFT should stop trying to challenge Google head-on in the consumer internet ad-driven arena. The new search product, Bing, seems like another chance for MSFT to run into a brick wall. Vine seems more like a mashup of other widely used services, with the MSFT brand on top. Probably a much more cost-effective approach than building from the ground up…I’ll be interested to see Vine when its released. From a consumer standpoint though, MSFT’s persistence probably helps keep Google honest and on its toes. But I think I’ll pass on the MSFT stock for now.

  2. Wave would be great if my online world were actually integral in getting my work done, as opposed to being just a distraction. In reality, my online life is purely social- I get out the stuff on my mind so I can sit down and be productive on real worl.
    Really, since when was Facebook (or any other social media) a productivity tool?

  3. andreaitis said

    Steve – I agree that Facebook is much more about procrastination than productivity. Google is calling Wave a “modern version of email.” That has the potential to change your online world, if it’s integrated with your existing communication tools. Since preview invites are trickling out now, we’ll know very soon if Google Wave will live up to the hype.

    • I might have been just a little facetious there- but email and social network time can’t be counterproductive- why else would it continue to thrive, and we continue to receive paychecks?
      Is it possible we just don’t have a way to measure the benefits we get- or at least a vocabulary to express it?

  4. andreaitis said

    Steve – there are certainly intangible benefits from social media interaction, but tangible benefits, too. Like…say…avoiding one’s dissertation. You should try to get an invite to Google Wave, tho. Sounds like they’ve incorporated collaborative editing which could help with the aforementioned dissertation. ;-p

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