Thinking "instead about the future of reading"
"Gutenberg 2.0"

Google Wave and Publishing

Google Wave Have you heard about Google Wave?  It's been described as "how email would work if it were invented today."  So instead of simply tacking on new features to existing email clients, Google Wave offers a clean slate approach.  In fact, it looks like Google Wave will offer a new, intuitive way of communicating while still using some of the email/IM/etc. features you've grown to know and love; IOW, it will offer the best of both worlds.

Think about this now in publishing terms.  The Sony Reader is just a convenient way to access books in electronic form.  The Kindle took it up a notch by enabling wireless delivery of more content forms, not just books but also magazines and newspapers, for example.  At the end of the day though, both of these products still mostly re-render print content in e-form.  They don't do much to fully leverage the e-platform, mostly because they're working with content that was built for print, not e-use.

What the publishing industry needs is a product like Google Wave more fully leverages e-content capabilities while still supporting all of the useful features of print.  If you haven't watched the Google Wave demo from last week's Google I/O you need to (see below); and even if you can't spare the almost 90 minutes the full demo/keynote required, just watch the first 10-12 minutes and you'll have a good feel for this amazing service.  And when you watch it, think about how an approach like the one used for Google Wave would create an enormous splash in the publishing industry (books, magazines, newspapers, etc.)


dean collins

lol maybe you could read ebook versions where readers can 'edit' books and different versions could be voted up Digg style.



From what I gather of Wave (admitting that I didn't watch the entire thing), one reason that it's able to do what it does is because everything resides on a remote server. I suppose they may build in some sort of offline viewing mode, but then you're cut off from all of those cool features.

To create an equally robust reading experience (assuming that's desirable, which is a big assumption), the book would not only have to live on a virtual bookshelf but a bookshelf in another building. The benefits to a "wave-book" would have to outweigh the inconvenience of not always having access to it.


@Preston I think you are onto something with the 'connections limitations' you touch on. Even if every book became it's own app, which would allow offline viewing, the reader would still be cut off from the rest of the online universe, which would be needed to support parts of the book, if called upon.

I wonder if a model could be built for a connected-version and an unconnected-version of the same book? Still may be too old-school for what's being proposed here.
The key is that the content must be accessible, in all it's glory, on any device at anytime from anywhere.

Google had to build their own infrastructure for all these hosted conversations... meaning it couldn't be found elsewhere. Will publishing have to do the same or does it already exist?


I think something else to consider is the amount of acceptable "noise" when reading. Of coures "acceptable" will vary from person to person and from book type. I would *love* to share annotations with my best friend, who lives 400 miles away. I *don't* necessarily want to read the annotations of complete strangers. In fact, I would expect that reading annotations from more than 3 to 5 people--even close friends--in a book would only serve to draw me out of the narrative.


@Trav: "Will publishing have to do the same or does it already exist?"

Yes..we are working hard on it ;-)

It will be accessable for both offline and online reading on all platforms, with a lot of amazing user-features.

And ofcourse...we will invite O'Reilly to be the first publisher to use our service.

Anand Srinivasan

The potential use cases of Google wave is terrific. Today, I read a blog about how Wave can actually solve the city traffic issues by creating a wave for every block in the city..

These are things we desperately need.

The comments to this entry are closed.