More on the Confluence of Wave, Android, and Chrome

September 4, 2009

I wrote a column for KMWorld a couple of months ago. I learned the other day (September 1, 2009) that the column has become one of the most frequently downloaded on the Web site. I was surprised because Google’s Wave, Android, and Chrome technologies are not new. Chrome is now one year old. When it was rolled out as a beta, Chrome was described as a browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer. Chrome moved from beta to real product quickly and since its début. Now people see Chrome as an operating system, which again is not 100 percent on the money. But the OS tag is more accurate than the browser label some azure chip consultants slapped on the product.

The Android services are also labeled an operating system. In fact, you can find this description in the Wikipedia entry for Android. The description is accurate up to a point. Android, like Chrome, is difficult to pigeon hole. Google itself does not do a good job of explaining what a particular product or service does. The idea is to provide some functionality and allow developers to bang on the technology. With enough people exploring, something will be discovered. At least, I think that is the general theory. Android, on close investigation, is neither fish nor fowl. The word that comes to mind is polymorphic. Once can do quite a bit with the Android suite of technologies. As computing moves to mobile devices, Android blurs into other Google services and relies on others. The hardware / software facets of Android are interesting as well.

Finally, we have Google Wave. Later this year (2009), Google will allow more people to fiddle with the Wave innovation. I don’t buy into the various popular descriptions of Wave. For me, Wave is an early use of some of Google’s dataspace technology. I don’t want to dig into the notion of dataspaces in this short item, but I think it is important that Wave is to a dataspace as a backyard weather station is to NOAA’s atmospheric monitoring systems.

The point of my write up for KMWorld is that the confluence of Wave, Android, and Chrome is now taking place. The impact is likely to be significant across a number of market sectors. The sector which interests me is the enterprise software market. Received wisdom says that established vendors like IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle have the enterprise market nailed. Google lacks the chops to penetrate the most lucrative sources of revenue in this particular market. For Google in the enterprise, it is game over.

I don’t agree. I think that Google will “WAC” the enterprise sector with Wave, Android, and Chrome. The first tap will be gentle. Over time, Google will put more and more muscle behind its “WACs”. The incumbents will have to have the stamina and the resources to withstand the blows and defeat Google.

What’s become increasingly evident to me is an observation I formulated in The Google Legacy, which I wrote in 2004. The study was published in 2005, and it is gratifying to me to see that four years after its publication, many of the research findings I disclosed are finding their way into the tool kits of consulting firms and independent pundits. Here’s the observation:

Assume Google goes away. The legacy of Google is that its disruptive technologies will become the baseline from which other companies start their software and service development.

What I discovered in my research for that 2005 monograph is that Google is important because it represents a learning laboratory for other developers. In short, Google let the genii out of the bottle. The genii cannot be put back in the bottle. As a result, the technologies embodied in the early stages of Wave, Android, and Chrome are inherently disruptive. Incumbents must adapt or find themselves marginalized.

You can read the original column on the KMWorld site.

Stephen Arnold, September 4, 2009


One Response to “More on the Confluence of Wave, Android, and Chrome”

  1. dinu on September 4th, 2009 5:42 am

    I think google wave will no spread as fast as gmail did … it will take time ..

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