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What Effects Will Google Wave Have on eDiscovery?

by on October 9, 2009

Google Wave set out to reinvent email for the 21st century. However with its ability to post content in different areas simultaneously (e.g., Waves and blogs), it raises more than a few e-Discovery questions. I came across a blog article today that talked about this question of eDiscovery and Google Wave.


According to the blog post, Google Wave uses XML databases, so the entire thread (or Wave) can be reviewed easily and backed up. Also, Google Wave is based partially on XMPP, an open, XML-based protocol originally created by the Jabber open-source community back in 1999 that provided near-real-time, extensible instant messaging (IM) and presence information (e.g., buddy lists). According to the post, this adds to the security of the content because XMPP makes it very hard to impersonate someone in a Wave.


The part that concerns me is the use of dynamic content in a Wave. This is content that is generated on the fly, such as interactive maps and automatic content from robots. This information changes every time it is called upon (potentially), so tracking down the exact content of a Wave may be near impossible.


Another point to make is the fact that Google has opened up Wave to developers, enabling them to create gadgets, widgets and other add-ons to Google Wave. If they start creating objects that don’t live within the Wave (like Wave Gadgets), then tracking down the actual content may be even worse than culling data from archived emails.


As I am just delving into this, I’d love to find out what others think about these issues and any others Google Wave may present to eDiscovery and data center operations in general.

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