Sunday, May 31, 2009

Will Google Wave kill Google Groups?

dodoImage by kevinzim via Flickr

I still use Google Groups. I’m not sure I’ll still use Google Groups when Wave comes out.

There seem to be so many ways in which Google could make Google Groups so much better right now - why don't they?

Why can’t we have wiki functionality within Google Groups? Surely that’s easy enough for Google to do now that JotSpot is fully integrated into their architecture. Why on Earth isn’t it there yet?

Right now we’ve got Discussion and Pages within Google Groups and there’s not much difference between the two. I can’t imagine it’ll be all that challenging to change Google Group Pages to something more like Google Docs – something that allowed the Group to edit the page (rather than have a discussion about the page which is what happens now).

What about integrating Google Talk into Google Groups too? That means rather than swapping email addresses or IMs with other people in the Group you could simply visit the Group and talk, in real time, to anyone else who also happened to be there.

Finally, what about giving us embeds of Google Groups so we can make all this content portable and integrate the community effort into our own blogs?

I think all these requests are safely within touching distance for Google’s Engineers. There may be a question of whether Google Groups is sufficiently popular for there to be enough demand to justify any engineering time but I think the single biggest reason we’re not saying any of this sort of development on Google Groups is the pending release of Google Wave.

Simply put; Google Wave will offer all this functionality (and more). People may debate whether (or when) Google Wave will usurp email but surely the service Wave will edge out first is Groups? Certainly Google Groups seems redundant compared to Google Wave but it’s worth noting services like Yahoo Groups may also be badly hit by the new technology.

Or will Google Groups live on as a UseNet viewer of choice by those of us old enough to remember?

What do you think?

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