Google reinvents email

Google announces ‘Google Wave’: a new, revolutionary communication platform, which is intended to replace email, instant messaging and document management. The Swiss-Indian Company Colayer introduced a product with a similar concept years ago.
‘Google Wave’ was announced at the developer conference by its lead inventors Jens and Lars Rasmussen, who invented Google Maps previously. Google Wave is intended to be the answer to the question,, “What might e-mail look like if it were invented today? “ Google Wave is not yet available. What makes Google Wave so special?
Google Wave keeps everything belonging to one communication cycle in a single place. Chat and emails from the initial ideas, the discussions and documents related to its development, as well as the final documents. All are stored together preserving the original context, even though different communication tools are used. Google calls this place a “Wave”. If you access a document, you get the full story of how this document emerged and evolved, the discussions and references leading to the development of this document. More and more experts believe that this will be the future of online communications.
Google Wave is not yet available and for now is just a revolutionary concept and a prototype for the developer community to further work on. But is Google Wave so unique? A Swiss-Indian company, Colayer started developing a platform using this concept almost 10 years ago. Colayer is managed from Switzerland and India. The technology center with 40 engineers is based in India.
Colayer Founder and CEO Markus Hegi is delighted that Google has started to work on these concepts. The beginnings of Colayer were similar. Markus Hegi was a business consultant for Deloitte Consulting and traveled extensively. Nevertheless, he had to stay in close contact with many teams globally, update them about progress, discuss issues and develop new concepts. This was very challenging as most of the communication went through email and was fragmented in many places. It was almost impossible to maintain a clear overview of all the interrelated activities.
The paradigm for Colayer and Google Wave is the same: Communications occur within context, not through disparate tools. Many different communication tools can be used by a Wave or within Colayer. In contrast to Google Wave however, Colayer is able to structure the content. Markus Hegi: “Information has many dimensions, like author, time, context, importance, density and source. On Colayer, every user is informed about new or relevant information in a personalized and contextualized form and without being overloaded with information”.
Colayer is in an excellent market position. Unlike Google Wave, Colayer is a commercial product. It has a mature product and its customer base, primarily in Europe, includes several Fortune 500 companies.

5 Kommentare

  1. >>> A Swiss-Indian company, Colayer started developing a platform using this concept almost 10 years ago.

    There are many email replacement initiatives that started a decade or so ago, but non of them managed to replace the broad adoption that lame SMTP has achieved. Lotus Notes attempted this 20 years before Colayer and they were relatively successful in the US within enterprises. But neither company has managed to change the model.

    Google’s research in this field has the capacity to replace global dependency on SMTP while also getting some degree of business and enterprise adoption. But Google will ultimately lock horns with Microsoft in this segment.


  2. Bill – I don’t think they talk about an email replacement initiative. After all, as I see it, the concept is not competing against email but the way humans would communicate in a knowledge driven enterprise and in future. From my understanding, email was built for ‘simple’ communication and not for knowledge sharing/dissemination – the key ingredient for a knowledge based ecosystem. Are discussion forums built on email tool ? Similarly are blogs based on email platforms? Same case is with micro-blogging services & wiki’s. Why are their backbone not based on ’email’?

    Just like snail mail has least relevance in the 21st century, email will have least acceptance in knowledge centric enterprises:
    – which needs continuous doping in the form of innovation,
    – which is eager to tap the (tacit) human capital to stay competitive,
    – to have a seamless culture of transparency and openness. Hence, I agree, the need & time to change the model for those inclined to capitalize on their human potential.

    BTW: did Google compete with Youtube? They tried with Google-video but miserably failed. Finally they gave up and acquired youtube (like a frustrated giant) and other companies in which they were not able to compete! There are similar examples of (underdog) Microsoft and other giants too. Hence I don’t think it is prudent to say that only the biggies will compete.

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