Google Brings the Chutzpah

I write a lot about Google. They're an interesting phenomena whose true agenda and nature is constantly fluctuating between good, bad, evil, righteous, and various other complex moral states. Sometimes, one word sums it all up, and fits so well that you wonder why you hadn't thought of this earlier. That word is Chutzpah. From Wikipedia (or "The Ultimate and Omniscient Source of Universal Knowledge and Stuff"):

In Hebrew, chutzpah is used indignantly, to describe someone who has over-stepped the boundaries of accepted behavior with no shame. But in Yiddish and Englishchutzpah has developed ambivalent and even positive connotations. Chutzpah can be used to express admiration for non-conformist but gutsy audacity. Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yiddish defines chutzpah as "gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible 'guts,' presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to." In this sense, chutzpah expresses both strong disapproval and a grudging admiration.

Or, for the reading impaired:

On that note, I would like to announce that Google has deemed me worthy of giving me a developer preview of their new collaborative content platform called Google Wave. It's really hard to put the idea into words and give it proper identification, but in their own words: Google Wave is what email would look like if it was invented today. Meaning, Email was modeled off the snail mail system, in which you wrote a letter, and the recipient received that letter and now owned it. Wave does away with that silly notion and innovates the way we look at cloud collaboration. Put simply, when you write a message to somebody, he can see you typing the message at the same time as you. Both sender and recipient own the content, and both edit it along the relationships formed by normal mail contact information.

Like I said, it's hard to explain. A more robust definition can be found in the 2-hour long presentation given by Google Product managers a while back. Or there's an abridged version for fakers. Regardless, this post is not about Wave. Well, sort of. Let me explain.

After I got my invite (and danced the dance of joy and happiness), I opened up IE (no choice; it was a work laptop) and I opened up Google Wave. I was then hit with a splash screen that blew my face off (very messy). It was the most chutzpah I've seen on the Interwebs in a long time, and it may signal the start of a new era in the browser wars.

IE is not supported by Google Wave.

Ok, read that again.

Are you still with me?

I'm not.

You do realize how unbelievably mind-shattering this is, right? You don't just release a product that isn't supported under IE (Just to be clear - it does run in IE if you install the Google Chrome Frame Activex control that may or may not break IE. But the point still holds. IE out of the box does not work with Wave). It's like releasing a car that doesn't drive on interstates. Or a music player that doesn't play mp3 files. It doesn't make sense, it's audacious, it's arrogant, it's brazen, it's non-conforming, and it's straight up Chutzpah.

It's also the stuff that revolutions are made of.

The age of IE (Internet Exploder, Internet Exploiter, take your pick) is coming to a close. Years of chipping away by browsers like Opera, Chrome, and most importantly and successfully, Mozilla Firefox, are finally bringing the industry to a point where things like can happen. Google Wave is going to change the way we collaborate in the Interwebs (many are calling it the harbinger of Web 3.0), and IE has been left out of the party. It's a blatant act of war, and one that's been a long time coming.

This may all be sensationalist thinking, as the restriction may be a quirk of the developer preview, but hey, the sensationalist way is typically the fun way, and I will indulge.

Don't worry, as soon as I get some more time with Wave, I'll let you know not if it rocks my world, but how much it rocks my world.


Benjamin said...

You have to ask yourself WHY IE isn't supported. I don't think that IE will always stay waveless, as this would completely kill Google's plans of world domination and mass adoption of their latest project.

Part of the problem is IE's lack of support for standards. It's the only browser that still fails misserably on the Acid 3 test. Only IE8 truly passes the Acid 2. That leaves many versions of IE (which are still widely used) non-standards compliant. That's messed up.

I dunno what Google's reasoning is, but I'm just assuming this has something to do with it. I also feel that IE's lack of extendability is also a problem.

We will soon see... Right now, Wave is still in its infancy. Thanks for the invite though. I hear I should get it within the week :)

Fran├žois Cassin said...

To be fair it does work under IE8.

This is one of the much needed attempt at finishing off IE6. I'm glad Google pulled this off, this will lead the way to a more standard-compliant, thus powerful, web.

Ruler of the Interwebs said...

Well, there's something about that splash screen that just screams arrogance. Even if it does, technically, run in IE8, nothing this audacious has been pulled off like this in a long while.

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