The Killer App: Business Change You May Not Want, But Will Have

I have two words for you today: Google Wave. If you like, you can watch a short video here.

This week, Google lifted the curtain on a new product that’s been getting talked about for a year now, by allowing 100,000 pre-selected people into a beta program for Wave. If the buzz is anything close to accurate, Google Wave will revolutionize the way we communicate with each other when it becomes available to everyone sometime next year.

I’m not going to talk about what Google Wave is. I am, though, going to ask you to start thinking about a few things it does, and whether it’s a good idea. Is this the business change you want?

I love the idea of making e-mail more productive. I spend as much time deciphering broken trails in emails as I do responding, and while it will introduce some new problems, Google Wave will be a real move toward better collaboration.

At the same time, it’s another step onto Google’s Mother Ship, where everything you do is controlled by one giant company, and equally frightening, tracked by them, too. I’m sure that Google will take steps to leave you feeling independent, like making Wave work inside your favorite e-mail program instead of mandating that you do all your work on the Google Wave web site. But they know an awful lot about you, and Wave will absolutely give Google that much more control over what you see, who you hear from, and the like . . . just when we’re all trying to gain control over those things ourselves.

Enjoy your weekend thinking about that, and the people who are bidding on eBay for a few Google Wave invitations that are for sale there.