UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Google Wave, HTML 5 and Browser Policies

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 1 June 2009

Over the past few days the Twitterverse seems tobe full with of discussions regarding Google’s announcement of Wave. The Techcrunch article on “Google Wave Drips With Ambition. A New Communication Platform For A New Web” is worth reading. But I was also interested to read a couple of blog posts on how Google Wave might be used to support teahcing and learning and research activities within higher educational instituions.

In a post entitled”Google Wave and teaching & learning” Wilber Kraan, who works for JISC CETIS, described how a technology like Google Wave has the potential to support a social constructivist’s model based on  group collaboration activities, especially those that can be constructed, annotated or modified collaboratively. And whilst Wilbert feels that Google is “evil” he feels that “a technology like Google Wave has the potential to impact this area significantly” and as  Social Networking  isn’t a market in which Google dominates, Google “needs to play nice and open“.

Meanwhile over on the Science in the Open blog Cameron Neylon feels that “OMG! This changes EVERYTHING! – or – Yet Another Wave of Adulation“. Cameron, a research scientist who is an unapologetic evangelist for open science, describes how, up till now “Those of us interested in web-based and electronic recording and communication of science have spent a lot of the last few years trying to describe how we need to glue the existing tools together, mailing lists, wikis, blogs, documents, databases, papers“. But Google Waves seems to have fundamentally changed things (if the service lives up to the hype): The lack of a framework to glue various communications and collaboration tools together “as far as I can see has now ceased to exist. The challenge now is in building the right plugins and making sure the architecture is compatible with existing tools. But fundamentally the framework seems to be there. It seems like it’s time to build“.

An exciting future, if Google Wave lives up to the hype, for the learning and research communities, it would seem. And therefore Google Wave could be of particular important to the higher education community.   There will be lots of issue that will have to be addressed, not least the dangers of a monopoly provider and concerns over privacy. But, less emotive, perhaps, but  of particular importance to IT Service departments is the question of the browser environment which will be needed to access Google Wave. It appears that Google Wave is an HTML 5 application – and HTML 5 is supported, in part, by all modern Web browsers, with the exception of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer – which dominstates he marketplace.

Isn’t it time for IT Services  department to acknowledge that Internet Explorer is a major barrier to innovation in higher education? Would it be too much to expect a search and destroy operation to be carried out during the summer vacation to the desktop environment across the sector? Or, as a Google member of staff was quoted as saying that Google aim to get it working for all browsers: “People will not have to upgrade their browser to use Wave” maybe not? Perhaps if we find the innovators and early adopters grow to like Google Wave and wish to see it used more widely within or institutions, we’ll also find that it will eventually be made to work in the latest version of Internet Explorer. So maybe the summer’s search and destroy operation could be a less radical search and update operation.

About these ads

5 Responses to “Google Wave, HTML 5 and Browser Policies”

  1. [...] My Recent LinksKodak risks major PR fail after purge of the free June 1, 2009Google Wave, HTML 5 and Browser Policies June 1, 2009What Brands Want From A Twitter Client May 31, 2009Local news – still kicking, hurray! [...]

  2. Talat said

    If this motivates Microsoft to finally implement industry browser standards and stop their tendency towards the walled garden approach (e.g. their non-standard approach to CSS and the example of HTML 5 that you mention, among other things), it will be a good thing. However, I doubt very much that IE is on the way out. They will respond in a heartbeat to do what is necessary to keep their market dominance, I should think. This appears to be an example where the market creates drivers both towards and away from interoperable standards, where opposing strategies can be adopted even by the same company at different times.

    I might add that it can be no coincidence that a Microsoft launches a Google look alike search engine called Bing just about the same time that Google are trying to move into a market where Microsoft have slightly more penetration than Google. This actually seems rather weird: are we supposed to believe it isn’t just re-branding MSN Search but with clean design instead of the cluttered front-end? We could be forgiven for thinking that this is a rather desperate and non altogether innovative contribution at a time when Google is making… wait for the groan… Waves.

  3. Well, IE is pretty much impossible to remove still (doable, but very hard work), and Firefox still lacks the enterprise deployment tools which prevents it getting rolled out and managed properly. But of course, these are merely excuses ;)

    Now that Firefox 3.5 is about to come out and both it and Chrome 2 will have support maybe universities could add to any current video offerings by providing higher-bitrate video in ogg, and subtly hint to the IE users that they could be getting a better deal?

    Chrome 1 and 2 and Firefox 3.5 have massively fast Javascript engines, so for internal apps could there be a “this app is faster in…” ?

    These are only suggestions of course, and we’re not actually planning to do these things (yet) :)

  4. hm, that did say both Firefox 3.5 and Chrome 2 will have <video> support!

  5. [...] Google Wave, HTML 5 and Browser Policies [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: