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I skipped through the Google Wave video again today and I must say that what they are showing us is a cool(ish) web app that's really only looking good because of the near real time updates, which are driven by an XMPP back end with some smart HTTP connectivity, BOSH maybe? So to be more critical than I have been to date, what's new? XMPP has been able to do this for years, look at the  '... is typing a message' indicator on Jabber clients, those updates come via small XMPP stanzas (XML snippets) on the wire. I'd guess that the pages we saw are an HTML rendering of the XMPP (XML) data stream and the real time updates are IQ stanzas, probably defined in Googles extension, I need to take a look. So to answer my own question, "What's new?". 

What's new is a large high profile brand with deep pockets has seen the light and decided to put some R&D and marketing dollars into a project that really does show off the power of XMPP and HTTP combined, that's the news and it's good news. So Wave is a good end point to aim for but it looks like an 'all or nothing' platform. It would be years before everyone replaced the mass of corporate email, IM and other collaboration platforms. I expect we'll see it as a Google only service for a while, maybe with some other players taking part, but even then they'll need gateways to regular IM services and email for some time to come.

For now I'll carry on coding xIMpp and very soon now Cleartext will have something to release that offers some of the messaging features Wave offers over XMPP by aggregating existing email, IM and micro-blogging services. I'm happy with a one step at a time approach.

Published: May 31st 2009 at 12:56pm

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