A coworker just turned me onto the Google Wave presentation. I must say it looks like the coolest IM client I've ever seen. But I am skeptical about it replacing email. I'm old enough to remember when ICQ was going to replace email. Uhm, not so much.
I'm not a technological luddite – I love new technology. I just can't see this replacing SMTP email because it is so vastly different. We haven't even replaced IP4 yet on the internet. What makes Google think they seriously stand a chance replacing SMTP?
In my humble opinion, the only way SMTP email will be replaced is if there is a multi-company standardized platform that's agreed on by all the big corporate players, the myriad of Open Source projects, as well as being completely backward compatible in some fashion for older systems that cannot or will not be upgraded for whatever reason.
Wave wasn't designed this way. It's a clean break. IT standards adoption trends just don't seem to like clean breaks!
All that said, Wave is really cool looking and I'm sure it will be an excellent competitor to other collaborative technologies out there now, like SharePoint. In fact, as it stands it looks like it is way ahead of Redmond in collaborative and communications aspects (especially if Grand Central is integrated into Wave), so it will be an interesting competitive fight to come!
Maybe it will inspire the replacement of SMTP, but it won't be the replacement itself. Let's see if I'm right about this. Bury this post in a time capsule somewhere. ;-)
Also, if you are a tinfoil hat type (not a bad thing when you work in IT security), this article is for you.