Google Wave Will Kill Email, Your Social Life

Hey, you! Yes, you! Are you still using email? Really? Pfft. Email is sooooooo turn of the century. You may as well be using Pony Express to forward people pictures of cats playing the harmonica, because Google Wave is coming, and Google Wave is going to HAND EMAIL ITS JOCK.

From CNN comes the rather amazing story of Danish brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen, who invented Google Maps, and now stand poised to unleash Google Wave upon the world. What is Google Wave, you may ask?


E-mail as we know it is based on the snail-mail format: you send a message; your friend receives it. Wave makes mail collaborative and instant. When you type a message to a friend, he or she sees what you're typing as you type it. You can jump in and start drafting a reply before the initial message is complete. Wave also lets users collaborate on editable documents, called Wikis, share photos, update blogs, set appointments and chat in big groups. You can add conference calls to a Wave. A translation function called Rosy will translate chat messages between languages as you write.

In other words, you will now be able to interrupt people electronically. I’ve always wanted to be able to do that. How jazzed are people in the tech world about Google Wave? At the Google I/O conference in San Francisco…


When Lars typed a Wave message to Wave's group product manager, Stephanie Hannon, it showed up on both screens of their computer monitors simultaneously, character by character. When they both started typing at the same time, the streams of moving text looked like furious ants crawling around on the screen.

The audience cheered in excitement.

That’s right. People cheered for typing. THAT is how mighty Google Wave may very well be.

Wave, like Gmail, will be a free service available through your web browser. You can request an invite to join right here. An iPhone app for Wave is also currently in development. And the program is expected to work with Twitter, so that users can create, say it with me, TWAVES.

But not everyone is ready to abandon their precious email just yet for this new technology. From the comments on that CNN story:

Email is here to stay no matter what comes along. For the majority people use email to write short responses back to an individual, not sitting there desperately waiting on a response like in a chat room…

I saw it live and was not terribly impressed. The interface is atrocious…

GoogleWave sounds more like a big chat. The point of many E-mails is that it's one-to-one or one-to-many conversation…

Naysayers. The fact is that all of the technological innovations you’ve come to love will, at some point, become obsolete. As will the next innovation, and the one after that. You may not be able to imagine such a thing, but two kooky Danish dudes certainly can.

Drew Magary is a writer for and the author of Men With Balls: The Professional Athlete’s Handbook.

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