Google Wave Washes Ashore New Advertising Opportunities
We have spent the last few nights poking around Google Wave, and after the initial confusion our mind is officially blown.
The new communication tool was announced in May and just went into limited public preview. It is so different from anything else out there that it's hard to describe in a sentence. Think of it as an email application with elements of an instant messenger, online bulletin board, wiki, and blog all in one package.
At first we felt like owners of the first telephones -- proud but sort of lonely since there are few people to "wave" with. We found our cure for loneliness in the "with:public" search that brings up all waves made public by their authors.
What really sets Google Wave apart from other communication platforms out there is not its collaboration features (several participants can work on the message together), the step-by-step playback of changes made to the document (nifty!), dragging and dropping files from your desktop directly into the message (very nifty!) or seeing your friends type their replies in real time, word by word.
The true power of Wave lies in its many extensions, robots, and gadgets -- mini-applications created by Google and others that turn a humble email message into a web page that can sport anything you want from a mortgage calculator to a multiplayer game. Only with the regular email, you click on a link and you go to a webpage; with Wave, the webpage comes to you.
So, what exactly can you do?
Embed a Hulu player with this gadget, tune it into a new episode of The Office and engage in a discussion with other participants.
Have an automatically updated RSS feed from your favorite blog.
Make money advertising Amazon books with an affiliate widget...
... or from a block of AdSense ads (at least while it's not against the TOS).
Add new functionality by adding a "Wave bot" -- an automated participant in a conversation who, much like chatbots in instant messengers, perform certain functions when triggered by the content in the wave. To activate, simply add bot's email address in the To: field. Here, BotURL automatically expands all links shortened with bit.ly and tinyURL.
Since you can add just about anything into a wave with this handy HTML Gadget, there is no reason why you can't install a piece of analytics code. I quickly grabbed one from StatCounter and dropped it in. (Copy the gadget's XML link, then click on the jigsaw icon in your Wave, and drop the link into the box that pops up.)
The counter works just as it does with any other page; you too can view live stats of this wave.
Remember the mid-90’s switch from text-based email clients (Pmail for DOS, for example) to Outlook and Lotus where you suddenly were able to spice up your messages with embedded pictures and nice-looking templates, and send calendar appointments and business cards? If Wave takes off, replaces Gmail and eventually becomes a new email standard, it will be the biggest thing to happen to email -- and email marketing -- in more than a decade.