17 June 2009

Roundup of new web publishing tools

Google Wave [ Wikipedia ] is an attempt to integrate document management, wiki, and IM, under the rubric of real-time, web-based group collaboration. Their presentation shows much but is a little heavy on corniness and world-changing ambition. Par for the course for most demos and moderately justified here. They also intend to make Google Wave an open-source protocol to complement such technologies as FTP and SMTP. Nicest features: simple sharing of IM threads, adding others to the whole or part of the conversation; and document edit time lines that allow you to replay the edits and see the editors over the lifetime of the document. It's difficult to see now if Wave will settle in the content management space of MediaWiki or Drupal, or the project management space of Basecamp, or some hybrid space encompassing both.

Opera Unite [ Wikipedia ] is a feature of Opera 10 (now in beta) that allows the browser to become a web server. When Opera is running, you can share files, share folders, stream music, host discussion threads, and serve web pages. This is in line with the original idea that Tim Berners-Lee had when he invented the web: emphasizing creation on every node as much as consumption. Most responses have been in one of three categories: "wow", "nothing new", or "too much of a security risk". Although a biased Opera-user, I like the potential simplicity that Unite offers for sharing and communication, and I love how it empowers users to serve their own content from their own machine. Although a person could create a hosted blog to share pictures and files, why do that if the audience is simply friends and family? In a way, this is an alternative to all of those now-dusty blogs: a personal web site could now be truly personal.

Some links of note:

[ updated 23 July 2009 ]

Interesting comment from a Slashdot discussion on Wave. The commenter describes it as a cross between a Wiki and an Instant Messenger, then relates their impression from the Wave conference at Google:

Everything that was being said was transcribed live, "livewaving" that's what the google employees called it, and the notes/statements/questions said out lout during the presentations were clarified, corrected, rephrased, and formatted by two or three people (just a couple of lines above where they had been captured). There was no coordination whatsoever, people just added things wherever they felt they could contribute. Also, the initial attempt at coordination by the Google organizers was foiled, because they were too slow to create the group and start an official wave on their own, the participants already had a wave underway by the time they started -- so that became the official one by default.
[ posted by sstrader on 17 June 2009 at 10:52:08 AM in Internet ]