The undiscovered marketing power of Google Wave

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Google has rarely made missteps in its 11 years. Sure, the search giant has shuttered some business plans over the years, but often those failures were either too grandiose and fell outside the company's core strengths, or too simple and rudimentary to ever grasp scale.  

Google Wave doesn't fall into either of those categories per se. It's grand, yes, but it's also a complex new service that capitalizes squarely on Google's depth of expertise. Since its beginning, Google has been on an unrelenting quest for thinking outside the box and introducing new products and user experiences to consumers that they didn't even know they needed. Success can be measured by how often these products become entrenched in people's daily lives.

Brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen are the minds behind Google's latest and greatest feat: Google Wave. Originally named "Walkabout" by the Danish-Australian brother duo, a five-person "startup" team sought to create a new communications model that built on what they considered the most spectacular success in digital communications thus far.

Like nearly every Google project, the premise was simple but far reaching: why is there so much divide between these different types of communication and "could a single communications model span all or most of the systems in use on the web today, in one smooth continuum?"

Months later, the team has a working prototype. In late May, at Google's I/O conference, and two years after its point of inception, Google Wave was introduced as an early preview to developers.

Admittedly, one bad thing going for Google Wave is its complex nature. Every developer should quickly understand the aim and potential opportunities presented by Google Wave, but what about marketers? Will it be too confusing to ever catch on?

Adam Broitman, partner and ringleader at, says he's just as much perplexed as he is intrigued by Google Wave.

"I'm still wrapping my head around it as well. Is this the next email? Is this the game changer that email was?" he asks rhetorically. "It will certainly enhance the way we communicate like Gmail did. I think it's going to be just as big as Gmail."

To help grasp just what Google Wave might become, Broitman says the idea behind the product is to overlay a real-time component to the web. "Wave may be to the conversational web just as Gmail was to email," he says.

"I think it has an amazing ability to drive conversations around various types of content," Broitman says, but he admits we won't really know what it is until we start using it.

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