A friend pointed me to what I think may be The Next Great Thing that may actually enable the dream of networked collaboration and communication. It's Google Wave and it hasn't left the labs yet. But if the video is any indication, it's amazing:
It's a long video (an hour and a quarter), but worth the watch.
We hear all the time about technology-enabled collaboration, but it seems more theory than reality. Until now (or whenever Wave is launched), it usually requires closed systems, hosted applications, hefty license fees or incompatible software. The Wave model puts e-mail, IM, editing, document sharing, editing and collaboration (and social networking and blogging) in one interface, presumably all hosted on Google's servers but globally accessible.
It looks incredibly cool, but is there any likelihood that corporations or law firms will pick up on it? Will privacy and security concerns keep them playing in their own sandboxes, separated from each other and stuck e-mailing draft documents back and forth?