Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wave, Bing and Punch - The week the web took a serious step forward...

Anyone remotely associated with the digital space would have no doubt heard about the recent announcements by Google, MS and News Ltd. Here's my take on the events of the past week...

First of all, the boffins at Google unveiled their latest innovation: Google Wave. If you haven't yet seen the developer conference keynote (or even the first 10 minutes of it), check it out here:



After sitting through 80 minutes of the most awkward tech nerdery ever to be presented live on stage, one thing is clear: This is the largest step forward for online communication since the commercial penetration of email.

My only concern is that it could be too advanced. Try explaining how a wave works to a 50+ silver surfer who just setup their first Hotmail account? There is no doubt that the big G has a long way to go with this product, in both education and development, but give it 5 years and basic email will be as dead as the dusty old fax machine in the corner of your office.

The second big announcement was the launch of Bing. Microsoft's overhauled version of Live Search. Without waxing lyrical about it, there are a few points worth mentioning:
  • Any competition is good for the search industry. This is the first product I've seen in a long time that comes close to Google. They've had it too good for too long.
  • Search is a habit. No one ever decides to search, then pick their provider. It's going to take a big attitude shift, and a good 2-3 years before Bing becomes a serious player in this market. Writing it off now would be shortsighted on anyone's behalf.
  • Bing is actually quite well built (all MS jokes aside...). The image search, video search, and contextual info along side search listings rocks. As Mumbrella pointed out, there are still a few bugs, but they'll sort that out over time...
Overall a solid effort by the big end of town, and one to watch over the coming months and years...

The third big launch this week had more of a local flavour. News Ltd pushed the Go button on their latest effort in opinion-based journalism, ThePunch.com.au. Described as an Oz version of The Huffington Post, it's purpose is to generate conversation, and a quick snap of the current homepage shows that it seems to be doing that pretty well (considering it's 2 days old).

The site looks great and seems to have pretty regular updates from it's main journos. One thing that The Daily Beast and others do well is get regular pieces from celebrity contributors. 80% of the Daily Beast articles I get pointed to are written by Michael Moore. For The Punch to get ahead, they'll need to start swinging their left hooks a little more often. They have the roster, it's time to call on them.

A big week in the progression of online technology and media, and certainly one that we should all be excited about.

7 comments:

Starcom said...

Nick, since I don't have 80 mins, how about a v. quick Wave summary?!

Hehe....Yvette

Nick Smith said...

Step 1. Take Gmail
Step 2. Add Live IM, Social, Blogging & Wiki functionality.
Step 3. Profit.

James Drewe said...

Step 3 has always been a problem for most of Google's products...

James Drewe said...

On a more serious note for Wave though, everyone is saying it is an email killer. I think this is greatly over estimating what the Google team are trying to achieve and setting themselves up for disappointment.

Nick, you mentioned that basic email will be as dead as the dusty fax machine. I'm not sure about your office, but ours still gets a workout from the TV & radio stations along with the press/magazine guys who still ask for bookings to come though via fax (this has to do with legal implications). For those of us who have figured out how to use the scanner function, then yes, the fax is dead.

There are many project management systems that have most (if not all) the same functions as Google Wave, but the fact this one came from Google means it garnered huge press as well. It will be interesting to see what happens with it.

Nick Smith said...

Profit for Google is all relative. If by using Gmail, docs and wave means that you no longer need to buy office or exchange, then they call that a win.

Teach your old-schoolers to scan and save a tree! But I take your point, the media industry is incredibly backwards and also forwards all at the same time...

Tim Burrowes - Mumbrella said...

You're right about the level of advancement for Wave. I got about 15 minutes in, before I found myself mentally writing off at least half a day getting my head round Wave when it's finally released.

Happily, Bing didn't take quite as long...

Cheers,

Tim - Mumbrella

Adam said...

Some interesting rumblings on Twitter about the marketability of the Punch. Definitely early days.