Cloud Based Messaging

Over the past couple days I’ve been thinking and working on cloud based messaging.

The work has been to get off client-based email once and for all. Over the past month, I’ve slowly but surely transitioned from someone who uses the microsoft email system (outlook/entourage/exchange) to someone who uses Google’s Gmail.

I realize that I’m late to this trend, but I’ve been on this path for a long time. When Gmail launched, I opened an account and have been forwarding my email to Gmail since. Its a huge searchable archive that I rely on regularly to find things. I’ve also used Gmail occasionally when my outlook and entourage crash, as they do regularly (at least for me).

I’m one of those people who saves everything. My mail file is between 10gigs and 20gigs depending on how often I archive, empty stuff, and clean it up.

Many people have been telling me for some time that I need to move my mail to the cloud because a mail file as big as mine is not workable in a client/server model.

I had a brief flirtation with outlook running on parallels on my mac but that resulted in a nasty crash of my entire hard disk and regardless of whether it was parallels or something in OSX, that pushed me over the edge. While my new macbook was getting a new hard drive, I went back to my old macbook and used Gmail exclusively.

It’s taken me about a month but I’m pretty comfortable on Gmail now. I still find collapsing emails into conversations an issue at times, but I’ve also found it helpful at times. That was always my big hangup with Gmail.

There are two other things that have really helped me get comfortable with Gmail. The first is keyboard shortcuts. I never took the time to learn them before. I did this time and I now use Gmail mostly without a mouse. That rocks.

The second thing and the reason I am thinking a lot about cloud based messaging is offline Gmail. I use plane, train, and other “offline time” as a time to catch up on email. I hated the idea that I couldn’t do Gmail on a plane. With Google Gears installed, you can now use Gmail in offline mode. I’ve just finished four hours of catching up on email in the browser while being offline. It’s one of those experiences that changes the way you look at web apps.

Gmail caches your most recent mail (and attachments) so you can get a connected experience offline. I wish it would also cache the pages behind the links in my email.

I also wish Twitter’s web app would be available in offline mode. I would love to go back through my timeline for the past few days like I can now do with email and send replies and direct messages. And of course, I’d love to have the pages behind the links in twitter cached as well.

All of this is possible and I think its coming (don’t take my comments specifically about twitter, I haven’t even talked to them about this idea).

I spent some time this morning watching the Google Wave video. I had the same reaction to its UI that I’ve had with Gmail (and FriendFeed too). It looks complicated and cluttered.

But I love the way the messaging all happens in the cloud and its designed for many to many messaging. That’s what happens with the comment conversations in disqus that we have on this blog. We are emailing back and forth but the conversations are public and hosted in the cloud.

So there are some big trends here that I’ve been thinking about.

Web apps are gaining the ability to be functional offline. Which makes them work as mission critical messaging systems. And messages are being hosted in the cloud which creates the kind of scalability needed for a world in where we generate hundreds of messages a day to groups not individuals and want them archived forever.

Mobile is also a big part of this. For messaging, the triple play appears to be cloud based storage, a web app that can be used offline, and great mobile support. With Gmail offering native support of the native Blackberry mail app this summer, I’ll have my triple play. Just in tme to swap out Gmail for Wave!


Comments (Archived):

  1. Spencer Fry

    I use Google Apps for my e-mail as well. You should check out if you have multiple email accounts on GMail. I’ve got 5 and this helps me stay organized. The only bummer is that you can’t have two accounts open at the same time — you have to swap between them — and the swapping also ends any GChat conversations you have going on.

  2. Edwin Khodabakchian

    Interesting to see you publish this the day after Google announces Wave. Microsoft is going to take some aggressive steps to protect their exchange business. They seem to be a couple steps behind. Have a great week end!

  3. Adrian Palacios

    Yowzas!!! 10 to 20 gigs of email? Either I am lazy , don’t email that many PowerPoint decks, or…

    1. fredwilson

      Its 15 yrs of mail that I thought was worth keeping

      1. Adrian Palacios

        I’m not well-versed in the technicalities of the airwaves the FCC is opening up (still reading over the Union Squares post about opening up the spectrum), but do you ever think there will be a day when there’s no such thing as “offline”?Like, a point where our kids can’t imagine ever *not* having a connection?

        1. fredwilson

          I hope and pray for it every day!

          1. Prokofy

            To what god do you pray for the singularity, Fred?!At one level, to quote a famous phrase from the proto-Internet, the Whole Earth Catalogue, “You can’t put it together. It *is* together.”At another level, there is no telling what might happen when the concretized will of tekkies, which is all robots and computers are at the end of the day, the elevation of one human’s will over another, are left to replicate and amplify and grow in power unchecked. Already, there is too much hubris.It is good if not everything is connected. That is, connected artificially above its organic connections that are sometimes best not seen.

          2. fredwilson

            That’s a valid point of view. But its not mine

          3. Prokofy

            You yourself only take calls from your wife and kids *shrugs*. You don’t REALLY want EVERYTHING connected, Fred. Disconnection is good, too!Look at our hero Robert Scoble, who publishes his cell phone number on his blog if you would like to see a paragon of connectivity!

          4. fredwilson

            You make some good points prokofy

        2. rod edwards

          The singularity is nigh!// re-reading Accelerando / Charlie Stross in Stanza. Its CC licensed and free via FeedBooks.

  4. Mac Fowler

    I’m in the same boat and have taken it one step further. I’ve started using the Prism extension for Firefox that allows me to have an icon in my doc for gmail, google calendar, etc. It’s really helpful to have it be in it’s own “app” and removes all the extra browser buttons that I don’t necessarily need.

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks. I’ll check it out

  5. faithmight

    Great points Fred but my concern with the cloud is security. The Internet is inherently insecure as we all deal with spammers in our email, twitter, facebook, my space, blogs, etc. Now obviously it’s inherent insecurity has not stopped the vast majority of the planet in adopting the Internet, web apps, and cloud computing in some level every single day. But it still remains a concern especially for the network gatekeepers as I like to call facebook, twitter, google, and the like. So what will security look like in this increasingly interconnected world? Today the White House issued heightened cyber security. But what does that really mean for the safety of my streams and my access to them?

    1. fredwilson

      I’m not sure how gmail is any less secure than hosted exchange

      1. faithmight

        I don’t mean to imply that cloud services will be less secure because they are based on the cloud. Rather the increased proliferation of cloud services, web apps, and the like makes security more valuable and necessary. The perception of security becomes a competitive advantage. I guess it already is.

        1. rdeichert

          This is where scale will probably matter because you’ll be able to hire plenty of talented security people. I’d rather have a few hundred people focused on security than one person part-time.

          1. faithmight

            So true! Too many companies don’t focus resources on security as they should. But this will change as we, users, demand more secure clouds. And there are companies already doing a great job – Google with Gmail – and other companies like Twitter are ramping up efforts every day.

  6. Richard

    My issue would be having e-mail pushed to my cell phone? Is there a solution for that?

    1. fredwilson

      Blackberry’s been doing it for a decade

  7. rod edwards

    If you want to have some UI fun with GMail, go into Labs and enable “Mouse Gestures:””Use your mouse to navigate with gestures. Hold right-click and move the mouse left to go to a previous conversation, move it right to go to the next conversation, and move up to go back to the inbox view. Works best on Windows. [but works fine elsewhere too…]”If you’re into mouse-less usage, however, this may not be for you.

    1. fredwilson

      I think it might make me natious! 😉

  8. Sylvain Carle

    Another great combo for more offline work is thunderbird with gmail configured for IMAP.Best of both world, you can have a local cache of everything on several machines, read/archived state is kept between clients (be it bberry, iphone, desktop, laptop) and if your hard disk ever crash rebuilding your local index is as easy a reconfiguring tbird with the right 5-7 paraments (and wait for your 15 gigs to be pulled back locally from the cloud).Add the nostalgy extension for extra keyboardability in tbird and you are set.

    1. fredwilson

      I tried thunderbird and imap gmail but it wanted to download all my mail going back to the early days of gmail. I couldn’t deal with that

      1. pwb

        So is all of your email on Exchange or Gmail? Mac Mail IMAP works really well with large Gmail accounts (I have a few 100 thousand messages).

        1. fredwilson

          Its on both now. Our firms still uses the exchange server platform but I forward my mail to gmail and do my email there now

      2. Ari Herzog

        Heehee. I tried Thunderbird too–and had the same reaction as you. I gave up.

  9. Scott

    What’s the easiest way of importing mail into gmail from a .PST file? I added gmail through IMAP to outlook and tried copying e-mails in bulk but there always seems to be some sort of error.Any ideas?

    1. fredwilson

      I haven’t done that yet. I’ve got the names of several consultants I could hire to do that for us

      1. Dave Hyndman

        Hey Fred:Google does have an email importer. I think it’s Windows/Outlook only so you’d have to do it from there. And it only works on Google Apps accounts (not accounts). If you fit, maybe you can get all that old email up in the cloud:

        1. fredwilson

          Yup. We are going to do that

  10. Doug Kersten

    I love this idea of the triple play but then again maybe this is something that every new web app should have, not just messaging apps.

  11. Sebastian Wain

    I am late to understand how people (and you Fred!) are thinking about confidential information (email) in the cloud. Even with the best intentions a human or technical mistake can expose your messages. Only few years ago “all” we were concerned about privacy and now personal information is populated on social networks (I remember that I have thought twice before creating an account under LinkedIn!)Also the question is: would you use gmail if a nice desktop application existed? desktop software like Ozzie’s Groove had a nice vision for collaboration but it was left behind. I am sad that very few are creating desktops (or hybrid) applications taking advantage of desktop UI (e.g: native, flex/flash, wpf/silverlight) because there are opportunities for innovation there, and I think that sooner or later HTML will hit the wall as we know it.

    1. fredwilson

      For me the scalability and availability of cloud based apps trumps the privacy issuesUntil someone hacks my email!!

      1. Sebastian Wain

        But, don’t you think you’re exposing very sensitive information to a posible competitor? Even if it’s not precisely Google, there is a market security exploits in systems like gmail.I think we live in some kind of naive web usage until some event shows how innocent we were.

        1. kidmercury

          no doubt. collectively, i think we’re choosing to learn this lesson the hard way.

        2. fredwilson

          I am sending around state secrets

      2. Prokofy

        It isn’t about “someone hacking” — or only about “someone hacking”.It’s about turning all communications about everything, not just searches and emails, but now daily work collaboration, messaging, social networks, etc. over to one company, that has too much power.That’s wrong. You are giving away freedoms necessary for creativity to flourish merely for a faster widget.

        1. kidmercury

          lol, google and facebook are big in america, we are accustomed to giving away our freedoms here, we love it, do it all the time

        2. fredwilson

          I’m not worried about google becoming too powerful. Once they do, like microsoft did, the market will turn on them

          1. Prokofy

            Unless, of course, they install a global technocommunist regime, then there are no more markets.I do admire your touching faith in the fragile concept of “markets” Fred, it’s our only hope!

  12. Joe Lazarus

    Google Wave didn’t sound all that interesting to me till I watched some of the demos. I love the instant / collaborative features. I agree that the UI is complicated. Maybe some external developers will use Google’s API’s and protocols to make something more elegant and streamlined. As it stands now, I see it more as a small biz / group collaboration tool like Basecamp than as an email substitute.

  13. nycstartupfiend

    Perhaps I’m just dense but what problem are you really trying to solve here? Avoiding paying Microsoft for Office to get Outlook? I’ve used all the clients and Outlook on a 500 dollar dell desktop (we have about 30 of these at the office) or 1100 dollar Lenovo laptop is still the best messaging app on the planet – the others are not even close. The speed of search in Outlook is totally acceptable, the UI refreshes instantly.When 4GB of RAM + a dual core or quad core CPU + a fast Western Digital or Seagate hard drive goes for around 500 bucks, I can’t think of a reason why you would need to worry about going to the cloud for performance – especially since the network connection is going to be the weak link most of the time. Outlook talking to your local RAM and HDD is just going to be way way faster than talking to the cloud over your cable modem. And anyway, in the cloud they still have to store your mail file – small or large – in some sort of logical store on some sort of physical store. With SP2 on Office 2007, Microsoft has made their store meaningfully better so Outlook can now really take advantage of the speed advantages of your local machine talking internally to itself instead of having to talk over a relatively slow network connection.As for a very large store, if your Outlook archived email is split up into several PSTs, you should never have a problem. Also, you can easily have those PSTs closed most of the time and only open them if and when you need them.FWIW, I run Outlook on a very powerful – though not expensive – machine: RAID0 on 2 HDDs, Vista 64bit, 8GB of RAM, Quad core CPU. My monitor – at 30″ – was far and away more expensive than the machine itself and I have zero problems with Outlook or Vista for that matter. Never crashes. Never slow.The Outlook/Exchange/Blackberry integration is still the best thing out there and if you need remote access to your email Outlook web mail is now great (for a long time it sucked). Lastly, you can easily have your exchange mail on multiple machines without any problem at all. It’s 100% seamless.The cloud buzz word strikes me as just that in this case – a buzz word. But then again, maybe I am just missing what problem it is you are trying to solve. Microsoft does a lot of things poorly but some things really really well – Exchange is one of the things that it does better than anyone else and if you think about the cost per hour of your software purchase of Exchange and Outlook, it’s probably the cheapest thing you bought this year. Certainly cheaper than buying coffee at Starbucks.Viewed not from the consumer angle but from the service provider angle, here are some thoughts: this is anecdotal but if the performance and price of AWS is indicative of what we should expect from the cloud, I don’t get what there is to be excited about. It’s not cheap by any means relative to the cost of having your own hard disk (100 bucks for a terrabyte) and it’s not fast. For any business with any plans of having some scale – and there are many businesses that won’t have any scale for whom this statement does not apply – the perf benefits of controlling your own RAM and HDD plus the low cost make AWS meaningless. For 3000 bucks a month, you can have a rack in a data center with dual 1Gbps burstable (you will spend more if you actually end up using the whole pipe) connections to the internet. For another 30 grand, you can populate the rack with 200GB+ of RAM and 16TB of disk. If you don’t need the speed of RAM (can’t imagine you don’t) and you only need a meg or two of average utilization, then certainly you won’t be able to justify making that investment in hardware but once you need an even average amount of storage to be accessible, desire a fair amount of RAM to help performance, and want a fast connection, rolling your own starts to become very attractive given today’s hardware prices.Making the internet accessible to folks who can only afford a 200 or 300 dollar machine – if that much – and certainly can’t afford 400 dollars of Microsoft OS and Office on top – is a worthy goal. But that’s not actually your predicament or even that of most of the web users in the US or Europe. There are places to save money in life – this does not seem like one of them.

    1. pwb

      I used to think Outlook was actually pretty good but if you really give Gmail a close look, you will find that it’s pretty incredible. Being able to search 8GB of email in a fraction of a second completely changes how you think about email. Archiving instead of deleting does, too.

      1. fredwilson

        Search and tagging vs foldering and deleting takes a while to get used to but its very liberating once you do

      2. nycstartupfiend

        I used Gmail intensely for a while back when it first came out. I liked its speedy search but could not get used to conversation threading. Ultimately, I was willing to accept slightly slower – but improving – search on Outlook in order to get the UI that worked for me. With decreasing hardware prices, I was able to throw more and more hardware at it to insure stability; I’ve also been very impressed with the impact of SP2 on Outlook. It has gone from being marginally stable but certainly useable to fully stable. The occasional problems I used to have have disappeared – hopefully for got.

    2. OaklandStartupFiend

      Amen, Brother!And I thought I was dense when I read Fred’s statement:: “Many people have been telling me for some time that I need to move my mail to the cloud because a mail file as big as mine is not workable in a client/server model.”I’ve got news for you Fred – the cloud is the epitome of client-server!!!!!As for security, don’t forget that *all* of your email is searched and indexed by Google – for the purpose of displaying ads, among other things. Should you happen to put company confidential information in gmail, it may leak out.With Outlook (forget exchange), I’ve got my 20 years of email archives available both on and offline without geeking out with multiple apps from different vendors.Outlook just works! Repeating NYCStartupFiend, what problem are you trying to solve?

      1. nycstartupfiend

        Oh, and our Exchange is hosted in the “cloud” by a 3rd party service provider. I’ve never seen the server that has our Exchange email for what that’s worth (nothing since it has no impact on anything). And the nested conversations approach of Gmail is absolutely terrible if you ask me. I use webmail – Yahoo – to have a permanent email address and use my Yahoo instead of Gmail account solely bc I can’t turn off the nested conversations approach to email.

        1. fredwilson

          We’ve been on hosted exchange for something like five or six years. But that didn’t help me because I still had to use either outlook or entourage and when they crashed on me weeekly, it was a huge hit to my productivity

      2. fredwilson

        Reliability. Outlook and entourage are unstable for me and have been for years

        1. nycstartupfiend

          I hear that but that’s not a cloud vs non-cloud thing; that’s just a reliability issue. Not that simplifications help here but Gmail/Gears in an offline mode is effectively a client (your browser plus all of the software on top of it) and the server (whatever gmail is doing). Writing code for the Windows APIs or writing code for the browser plus the offline browser enhancing tools is writing code any way you cut it. The tech world has been swinging back and forth between touting cloud (mainframes were the first “cloud”) to client server and back again for years. Classic tech pendulum. So long as their is a lot of hardware sitting on your desk or lap, people are going to make use of it. Back in the days of mainframes, that was prohibitively expensive to do so there were dumb terminals talking to smart clouds. The hardware at your desk is intensely powerful and inexpensive and 800×600 resolution netbooks are not going to change that for a very large number of users.Independent of how it’s architected, Microsoft has needed to address their email store for a long time. It seems that they finally did so with SP2 in Office 2007. If Gmail and other email competition was the motivation to do that, that’s great – competition always works.Personally I can’t use conversation threading as my only view on email so that’s not an app for me.

          1. fredwilson

            I said that about conversation threading for the past three years as the reason why I’d never go to gmailI’ve gotten used to it now and can deal with itIf I could turn it off, I would

          2. nycstartupfiend

            My outlook used to soft crash (slow down but not lock me out) on a somewhat regular basis (once to twice a week). Ever since I installed Office 2007 SP2 a few weeks ago, it has been totally stable and meaningfully faster. I hope it lasts. That being said, I’ve also thrown a lot of hardware (RAID0 and 8GB of RAM in particular) at it and that seems to be a variable.

    3. Christian Cadeo

      For me I just don’t like the interface of Outlook and feel it is too clutter with feature-creep throughout the years that I don’t know about and don’t care for.My company uses Exchange so unfortantly I have to use Outlook as the mail client. Ideally I would love to have Gmail as the mail client but unfortantly they only allow this via POP which has too long of a delay.

    4. fredwilson

      The problem I am trying to solve is a mail app that doesn’t crash all the time. I’ve been using outlook since the early 90s and as my mail file has grown, I’ve had enormous stability issues. Gmail is a lot less likely to crash in my opinion

  14. Sherman Dickman

    Full disclosure: I work for Postbox.Shameless plug: try Postbox!It’ll work terrific on your Mac, has a gorgeous interface, powerful search and tagging capabilities, tabbed browsing for folders and messages, and intuitive conversation and content views.If your first-time download is too large to deal with during the workday, simply point Postbox at your Gmail account this evening, and by morning your mail should be downloaded, indexed, and ready to go. And if you use IMAP, all of your data will still reside in the cloud, but will be cached locally for backup, search and performance.

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t want all my mail on my laptop anymore. I just want a small amount of recent mail so I can catch up when I am offline. Otherwise, I want all those bits taking up space on the server

  15. Ari Herzog

    I like the idea of offline Twitter timeline searching.

  16. Phil Labelle

    Fred, any concerns with privacy issues?

    1. fredwilson

      Nope. But I don’t care much about privacy

  17. MParekh

    Fred, my wife is considering a similar transition to Gmail from Outlook on a Mac, but a potential show-stopper is not being able to migrate years of Contacts to Google’s less than robust contacts system…wondering what you’re doing on that front…

    1. fredwilson

      Nothing yet. But I can always search for the person and grab the email address which is what I normally use to connect to people

  18. tylerhannan

    Perhaps this comment won’t fail upon posting…I wrote a lengthy comment regarding my own cloud usage…and that the only applications that I remain “tethered” to are office applications and e-mail.Above all, I’m just glad I’m not the only one who uses e-mail as a file storage system. It is rapid access…easily searched (particularly when using Spotlight)…and the context of the e-mail around presentations and other saved attachments proves extraordinarily useful when researching something sent several years earlier.

    1. fredwilson

      This one got through. Are you having issues with disqus?

      1. tylerhannan

        An odd woe…I’ve used disqus on my blog for the minor amount of comments it receives at present…and have been a huge fan. I decided to use the follow feature (for the first time) and it would appear that it was an authentication error. Somewhat surprisingly I was presented with the “something went wrong” screen but it was constrained by the embed region of the comment which made the error quite difficult to read without in page scrolling.Regardless, seems pleasant now, will just copy/paste comment prior to click the “post” button.

        1. fredwilson


  19. Prokofy

    I’ve left Outlook completely and never looked back. But I won’t move to gmail because I think online should be diversified away from one company’s clutches.You get that same searchability of email on Yahoo, too. Aren’t you concerned about Google having all your data, especially proprietary data?Yahoo gets it too, then, if you have Yahoo email, but at least you have diversified from the Borg then.The Wave represents further collectivization of social relations and work products that in fact are all owned and scraped and commercially used by one company, and that’s not a good thing.

    1. fredwilson

      Well I suppose that’s true. But if google breaches my trust, I’ll tell the world about it. And then they will be fucked. So I don’t think they are going to do that. Maybe a roque employee might. But honestly I’m not sending around state secrets.

      1. alinuxguru

        Go ahead. Tell the world about it. No one is going to find your missive when they search for it on google.

  20. mikenolan99

    Wow – another kindred soul who doesn’t like the nested conversation feature. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who likes this feature.Why, oh why, must they make the world conform to this *new* standard? Can anyone explain the benefit?If Google had a “traditional” switch somewhere, I’d switch instantly.Mike

    1. fredwilson

      Me too!

      1. ShanaC

        I think it is a bigger issue than that- I think someone could totally hit them by doing a propreitary service to one industry (and one industry only) in the clouds.That has the look and feel of something more traditional.with a lot of the benefits of what google offers.Google would take a major hit if it were the right industry and the industry was dealing with mission critical issues..(actually I can think of an industry- but you would have to email me about it)

  21. bijan

    I recently made the switch from entourage.but everyone else at my office uses exchange including my here’s my current config:-all spark mail gets forwarded to gmail-i live in gmail w/google gears for email-all contacts are in exchange and sync to my iphone over the air. those contacts sync with google contacts so I have current contact info which I need for email addresses etc.-exchange calender syncs to my iphone over the air and I use my iphone as the way to manage my calender or outlook webaccess.It’s not perfect but at least I’ve improved my email situation and I’m compatible with the rest of the office.

    1. nycstartupfiend

      Why don’t you just do this the simple way and use Outlook and Exchange? It’s about 5 times simpler than what you are describing? Is this just for geeking out fun or is there actually some utility here? The iPhone or Blackberry integration to Outlook and Exchange are seamless – truly perfect. Granted, if you are on a Mac, Entourage is an absolutely awful product. The lack of Outlook and the lack of a right mouse button – plus the exhorbitant cost of the hardware – are reason enough to stay on the PC/Vista64 bit.

        1. nycstartupfiend

          Yeah – Entourage is terrible.

      1. fredwilson

        Windows is absolutely awful. I stopped using it a few years ago and would never go back

    2. fredwilson

      This is exactly how I’m doing it with one exception. I use blackberry instead of iphone

  22. Geoff

    Its a pity that the gmail anti spam capability seems to have got significantly worse these past few weeks :-(Your Twitter idea is really great

  23. Andrew Korf

    Agree with fred – my mail archive (many multiple years) I use almost as something similar to the time based operating system I cant remember who suggested creating many years ago in a wired article.

  24. Felicia

    Gmail is indeed not the best e-mail system in the world. But when traveling around the globe it is a blessing to have gmail as the speed of this e-mail system is fantastic. Hotmail might be blocked in some countries and the e-mail server at home is not that fast when you are in Asia. has a good e-mail system but it is sometimes hard to reach. Google is always available.

  25. Gregg Smith

    Regarding an offline twitter…can you pull your twitter RSS feed into Google Reader and use Gears to read offline? I would try but I’ve given up getting Gears installed properly on my laptop.

    1. fredwilson

      Hmm. I should try that. I didn’t realize that gears supports other google apps in offline modeWhat problems have you had with gears?

      1. Gregg Smith

        Installation issues on Win XP. Mostly due to my old laptop and Windows.I tried it again to investigate the issue so I could reply. I had to edit the registry and it appears to be working now. Ahh windows.I’ll try it with Google Reader and let you know if it works.

        1. fredwilson

          Pls do. I think I love gears

  26. Carl Rahn Griffith

    what’s interesting is that this reflects the move away from a silo mentality – this transition creates many problems for people who are trained in the corporate/political silo way of working which was/is painfully negative and thankfully increasingly unacceptable nowadays.

  27. hypermark

    Fred,The Message is becoming the medium. Google Wave provides a lasting snapshot of the “IT.” Why? Because regardless of whether they nail it or not, the concept is out there, and it fits within a multi-device, multi-view and multi-directional mobile broadband universe. It seems inevitable and the environment variables are finally right.When messages are cloud-ified, they gain persistency, federation and derivation attributes. They become liberated from a single instance or a single client application (like email), which opens the door to all sorts of interesting applications.Three quick thoughts. One, Google is positioned to emerge as the (shared) Library of the Commons via Wave or its offspring. News, Pictures, Videos, Feeds, Mail, Documents. What do they lack? Music, Books?Two, Google has to win this business, and I think that they will. If they are going to organize the world’s information, this is the way to do it.Three, Google should take what they have done with shortcuts in Gmails, and expand it to their other products so you have a palette that you can call upon in a context-aware fashion (i.e., what can be called in Maps may be different than Gmail or News for that matter).Btw, here is a post I wrote that provides an overlay example of where Wave types of applications could be headed:Envisioning the Social Map-lication: it out if interested.Cheers,Mark

    1. fredwilson

      I love what you say about what happens when messages become “cloudified”. You said it way better than I didThat said, I don’t see google running the table here. I think there’s a lot of opportunity out there for startups

      1. hypermark

        Thanks, Fred. To your point on (not) running the table, wholeheartedly agreed. Google just needs a seat at the “adults table” to continue to realize their ambitions, and given their position as the carrot holder on indexing content (i.e., their search leverage), they are in a natural position to negotiate a library of commons type of license structure so that an open platform like wave can take root. That is not incongruent with twitter, facebook, yahoo, et al having their own proprietary branches off of this information and messaging bus, and of course, lots of startups adding values in presentation, aggregation, filtration, analytics, etc.