It's very interesting to see that Google has developed a new protocol for e-mail, yes SMTP is just too old and boring, Wave protocol will come soon - at least we already have one provider who will implement this new protocol, I call it as a "reference provider", yes, it's Google Wave :-)
Okay before I begin with this story, one thing we need to know:
"Wave is just a protocol (http://www.waveprotocol.org), a specification, just like SMTP, HTTP, HTML, TCP/IP, OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial, etc. This means that everyone can implement this protocol to build some new products based on it".
"Google Wave (http://wave.google.com) is an implementation of the Wave protocol". A Google product which supports Wave protocol. I also call Google Wave as a reference implementation and reference provider of the Wave protocol.
If you want to understand the terminology in Wave protocol, please check out this article: Google Wave: A Complete Guide.
OK, with those information in the background we can start our discussion...
The big question for me is whether other e-mail providers like YAHOO!, GMX, Web.de, Lycos, etc. will also support this new Wave protocol. IMO this depends on the acceptance of the reference provider within the consumers. If Google Wave can attract a lot of people, all other e-mail providers will slow but surely become less important and their customers will leave them. Who cares to use that old e-mail, boring stuffs? The advantages of Wave protocol against SMTP are quite clear. And this is the point where they will also have to implement and add the new Wave protocol in their products.
What kind of impacts do we have from Wave protocol alltogether?
1. Technically we don't need to have client applications like e-mail SMTP client applications (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.) since Wave is being designed for web applications. Maybe there will be some Wave client applications (WaveEagle at Mozilla?) but this is not a must. Yeah, Microsoft Outlook will have to do some diets ;-) Throw all those e-mail stuffs away. Just embed Internet Explorer.
2. We will see some new providers playing and fighting for market share. Yes, the "pie" will be open for everyone, come and join Wave protocol and develop your own Wave product. Yes, we can start from the beginning! Web.de, GMX, YAHOO! will still play a role but it can happen that...
- Google Wave will get the most customers because their implementation is the first at the market. Marketing people know this as "first mover effect".
- A newcomer "Swiss Inc." from Switzerland will get a lot of customers because their Wave protocol implementation is the most secure one. Yes, nobody can get access to their servers, also not their own goverment since they have their "Wave secret".
- "WaveSign" (from V...Sign) offers you a real identity. It means that they will check you offline first, whether you are "the really" Lofi Dewanto before you can get a new Wave account. So everyone gets a Wave from this provider can be sure that the person really exists and the identity is checked.
- It is possible to have "HotWave" (from M..., you know what I mean) rules the Wave world, because it is directly integrated within their operating system. All those Wavelets are directly integrated in the background screen and their widgets, not bad...
3. How about spammer? Spammer will still find their way to "wave-spam". Please check out http://www.wavespam.net. You can get a wave account easily there, no identity check, nothing and of course you can use it to wave-spam everyone.
4. How are the business model(s) of those OpenWave providers? These won't change a lot. Just take a look those SMTP providers today. How can you earn money with consumer web applications today? Nothing. OK, I give up, ... advertisements, ads, and ads, ... :-)
I personally like the new Wave protocol and it's the time to throw away SMTP, so folks let's get started!
Just my 2 cents, happy Wavy!
BTW. here are some links on Wave protocol and Google Wave in German language: