What Google Wave means for future of file sharing


9 Oct 2009

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It’s new and shiny and many of us testing Google Wave have yet to see the full extent of its value because aside from being in preview mode, there aren’t any people to wave at.

Much like when I started out in Twitter, I thought, "Where’s all the fun at?" when I first opened Google Wave, because a time line filled with dustballs and the echoing sound of your own voice is a bit useless and depressing.

Now Twitter is literally a lifeline to friends, news and local events, and all things relevant in my life are filtered into this simple microblogging tool.

But what if I could add other things, like drag-and-drop file sharing, the embedding of rich content and an email-like interface where pings and waves are really emails and tweets mixed with IM?

All a-twitter over drag-and-drop file sharing

So we’ve already discovered this as we have been exploring or reading about Google Wave and reviews are mixed because we’re not yet sure what to think. However, the drag-and-drop file sharing mixed with the potential interaction of Twitter is huge. Huge.

I dropped a music track into a three-way Wave and it showed up immediately and was ready to play straight inside iTunes within a minute.

I’m not going to bother going to P2P file sharing sites if I can create or seek a public wave with a music file dropped in.

This raises a few issues – will the ease of use of a social-web service mixed with the popularity of Google products make this the next p2p, and will music piracy move to this platform?

Size matters

More importantly, can Google clamp down on Waves, no matter what the size? You see, when you start messing with the email model (where the private contents are your own) and give the messaging and storage capabilities to a Twitter-like interaction model and let people plop in files left, right and centre, you can’t predict how it will be used.

I know there are real-time collaboration web tools with drag and drop, eg, Drop.io, and even that Kevin Rose’s Twitter-based file-sharing service Pownce didn’t take off at all, but this is different. It’s different because it’s Google, it’s mainstream and it’s easy.

If sharing music, legal or not, is this effortless will we all be doing it soon?

By Marie Boran

Photo: Reviews of Google Wave have been mixed.