The browser is the new desktop! Last september, I commented Google's launch of Chrome with thoughts along those lines. Having watched the demo of Google Wave yesterday, I am even more convinced that the browser is the new desktop (screenshots from 7:40 into the video)
For our digital society, this development brings the power of the web and computing closer to the masses - consumers at all levels of society. The ubiquity of the mobile phone with built-in browsers paves the way for broadbased access to the masses. Admittedly, it will be a while before the phones morph to mobile internet devices (MIDs), but the potential is definitely there. And soon the MID will be the new PC.
It is tempting to view Wave as Google's "reply" to Microsoft's Bing and Vine services. And while its a bit hard to nail these Microsoft services, I suspect Wave will catalyse Redmond in "bringing it together".
Aside: Interestingly Google is copying Microsoft's market approach - i.e. targetting the developer community. But with a big difference, they are making this product Open Source. In my mind, I can see that this competition is going to benefit everyone... except probably the manipulators and lobbyist. Transparency and mass-participation are getting powerful tools!
I'm confident that the difficult challenges with technology will be solved as the masses put these technologies to use in regular tasks at work and in social contexts -- to support their work and improve their lives. The developments in Wave and Vine definitely encourage sharing of knowledge and co-creation. Thus promoting crowdsourcing as a means of value-creation and
innovation. I revisted the Harvard Business review article "Disruptive innovation for social change" by Clayton Christensen that I blogged here.
I am reminded once again that disruption is continuous -- happening as we speak; that there is no such thing as a revolution, just rapid evolution.