Google Wave: Another step toward XMPP powering the real time web

Posted by Mickaël Rémond on May 29, 2009

Google presented its new Wave federated collaboration platform at Google I/O conference.

As many observers (Like Jeremiah Owyang from Forrester) have pointed out, the realtime collaborative platform itself is not impressive: This is feature you can find in many competitors offer.

What is interesting however is that Google tries to leverage a development community platform by building the Wave platform on a distributed federated model, based on the open messaging standard XMPP (eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol). It means that you can use other XMPP / Wave enabled server to provide content for Wave platform consumers. With this move, the actual platform is really not that important. What matter is the API. The real question is whether Google will manage to attract enough developers to support this new protocol. I feel this is another step in the war with Facebook (and its Facebook API), more than an attack toward traditional collaborative platform providers like IBM and Microsoft. However, to appeal to a broader audience, Google market its initiative as "email as it should be". The way of demonstrating the platform hide the essential point: Google's aim is to build a development platform and applications are just their way to promote this initiative. Google Wave is really an initiative that complement Google App Engine and Open Social.

XMPP is already at the heart of several cloud computing platform and is becoming increasingly popular as a glueing tool for various types of services around the world. It is gaining mindshare ans supporters as a near real time protocol to power the next generation of web services and applications.

As Peter Saint Andre explained on his blog, this move demonstrates once more that

XMPP is fast. XMPP is secure. XMPP is extensible.

Will Google succeed ? The fight will be hard to gather a big enough development community. Only time will tell if they can provide the missing piece that everyone was waiting for. XMPP and the extension produced by the XMPP Standard Foundation already cover a large piece of what Google is currently promoting. However, what is sure is that this move strengthen XMPP. XMPP is set to play a major role in the Web infrastructure of tomorrow. Be sure that ProcessOne is preparing as well to be a major player in this upcoming shift of paradigm.