Google Climbs to New Heights of Arrogance With Wave


wave_logoHas Google (s goog), with its latest project, Google Wave, actually come up with the Next Big Thing in online communication, or is it yet another Googler vanity exercise? Wave is a combination of email, instant messaging and a real-time wiki — plus open architecture and APIs. Or as creators Lars and Jens Rasmussen and Stephanie Hannon put it, “what email would be if it were invented today.”

For now, Google is rolling out Wave as a developer preview and will launch to the public later. The company is looking for 3,000 adventurous, early adopter developers to “tinker” with the system and figure out “what else can we do with this?” And that’s where I stumble.

Google has a long history of launching or buying projects, only to get bored and abandon them months or years later. With Wave, as with so many Google projects, the company seems to be flinging things against the wall to see what sticks. No real thought has been given to its future beyond, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” When asked about marketing Wave during the launch Q&A, the Google reps said “We really haven’t thought about that too much.” What about advertising? “We haven’t thought about that yet.” What about competition? “It’s not something we really thought a lot about.” So what have the Googlers thought about?

Google, as a company, has failed at monetizing everything except search (and, though it’s based on the same tech, partner web sites through AdSense). Advertising on YouTube has been a failure, and is costing the company hundreds of millions of dollars a year in server costs. The culture at the company is to build first and ask questions later, typical for a company run almost top to bottom by engineers. Lucky for the Wave team, then, that search ads have been so phenomenally successful — absent such success, they would be forced to ask those hard questions about monetization and competition.

Wave could be a competitor to Outlook and Office if Google were to roll Docs/Gmail/Cal under the Wave umbrella. And as Om pointed out in a tweet, it could be a strong competitor to Microsoft (s msft) SharePoint. When he asked about Sharepoint at the Q&A, however, the Googlers brushed it off, saying Wave has “far greater breadth,” and is superior because of its openness and federation model.

The breathtaking arrogance of blowing off potential competition and touting tech buzzwords rather than at least giving a cursory examination as to how one might make money from a product is the Google way. Technology is all well and good, but at some point one must go from “Look at this cool thing we’ve designed!” to “Look at all the money we’re making from this cool thing!”

Maybe it will work. Maybe Wave will take over the world. But, with the notable exceptions of Gmail and search ads, Google has a poor track record with product launches. It is really, really good at vanity exercises, though.


Google Wave tutorials

I’m about two thirds through reading these comments on the train… I agree with a lot of comments from both sides of the story that Google is still very much holding onto search as their main bread winner which is far from ideal after the 7 or so years they’ve been around…

But I think whether or not Google Wave, Maps/ Street View etc.. are ‘financial successes’ is besides the point… After all, whether or not they become nice little earners for Google is not the underlying reason for their existence I think. Admittedly, if Google Wave and the other products take off (financially) they’ll won’t complain but they achieve what matters most, and that is to keep the Google brand (primarily Search) in the public eye, whether directly or indirectly. With this in mind, the more products people use by Google, whether in addition to Google search or not just gives them more chance to pull people into their main bread winner at a later date which is all that matters. thanks for your response, now I’m thinking how people see them co-existing together in the future? That is Wave/ Google Docs and the Microsoft Office suite.


“Microsoft Office is too embraced within Offices, Governments and particularly Schools where new starters to computers start off with Microsoft Office. I’ll probably be proved wrong but I don’t see teachers getting a Wave account over night to mark an assignment written using something else to Microsoft Word such as Google Docs.”

Ummm, it’s already happening. And, Google Wave has nothing to do with this. Google Docs already allows real-time collaboration on documents. Google Wave is just Google’s attempt to take this otherwise proprietary collaboration system… make it better… then open it up for all other collaboration systems to utilize… ultimately allowing cross-collaboration between competing products.

Many offices are already using Microsoft Office side-by-side with Google Docs. As those offices find themselves relying on Microsoft Office less and less, they have a new way to cut down on expenses rather than just laying off employees. This is most important in these difficult financial times.

Governments are already making the switch to Google Docs. Look at the LA City Council for an example.

Finally, many schools are moving in huge numbers away from Microsoft Office products to Google Docs. In the long run, it’s cheaper… and it offers more choices and less lock-in.

None of this has anything to do with Google Wave. Google Wave is still in its infancy. Google Wave is something which can eventually enhance existing Google Docs services… but those services already do just fine on their own without Wave.

Google Wave tutorials

I think it’s hard to see what Google Wave will become at this point due to it’s open source nature and how we use it over the next 3 years will probably completely change. I don’t see it ever becoming a real threat to Microsoft Office not because it’s no good, far from it actually, but more because Microsoft Office is too embraced within Offices, Governments and particularly Schools where new starters to computers start off with Microsoft Office. I’ll probably be proved wrong but I don’t see teachers getting a Wave account over night to mark an assignment written using something else to Microsoft Word such as Google Docs. Also, just whilst on this topic, some schools may not provide internet connections within their lessons. This sounds crazy to me but this might be the case..


Well, We wouldnt have google today if Google adopted a strict monetization plan. Without google, we wouldnt have a search engine that gives us relevant results. We wouldnt have free email, round about the time when gmail was launched was when i remember email was just starting to go paid. And now when they are launching this product which is sure to change the way we communicate on the net, I am sure that as usual, google’s competitors will be wondering what just hit them when Google swipes another chunk load of the internet’s users. Not everything needs to be done with the “tried and tested” modes of business. Open your mind, Your growth should also help the growth of your end users.


– The tech is extremely interesting not only as a standalone solution, but also for embedding into other solutions.
– Google is letting developers in very early to get to a flying start.
– And much of it will be open-sourced, so even if Google drops it, the tech may live on.

Sounds like a winner to me. I’m integrating it with my solution.


If you’re looking for integrating collaboration into your own solution, check out Team Work Interactive Platform (TWIP).
We are building a collaborative platform, where applications shouldn’t depend on the content being shared. Our aproach is a little bit different than Google’s (although I do enjoy Wave, can’t think of a better conversation tool), in the way that we intend to offer collaboration as a feature for existing applications (without beeing so related to conversations).

We will be ready soon with a demo.

sarki indir

This walled garden approach pretty much sucks. It makes it difficult for people to truly communicate. It’s not like phones where I can have AT&T for service and you can have MCI for service (are they even still around?) and we can talk to each other without caring which service provider we are using.

Exactly, and this is what makes Wave so promising. The reason different people can have different phone services and still talk to each other without caring which provider the other is using is because a single design for telephone communications was implemented and everyone agreed to use that design for their own services. It just works.

Likewise, Wave is completely free, completely open, etc… so as long as everyone agrees to use it, it can be the standard that every provider rides on, providing different service but complete interoperability.

The problem is, the typical corporate world response to Wave will be for large corporations like Microsoft and Amazon to avoid Wave and, instead, build their own protocols and try to force those on other people (through licensing deals, rather than letting it be free and open)… and then we’ll have the walled garden approach all over again.


The first step for you is to understand that Google does not necessarily need / want to monetize anything it creates… It only wants us to use it more and more and more… so that we stay logged on even longer… this is how they fuel their add-machine… and in the process they make our lifes so much easier…


My problem with Google Wave is that I don’t know what it’s use will be.

IMO, it’s only framework, probably useless on its own.

Another problem I have with it is that the protocol was designed without any community consultation.


I’ve been using Google Apps since Google offered it, FREE! The applications work flawlessly. I just burned a Feed with Feedburner, in about 30 seconds, FREE! I can burn a Google Feedburner feed, faster than IE can open.

It takes me 5 seconds to open Google earth and take a look around the world, FREE! Your way off track with this post. When Wave is available, I’ll be dragging and dropping my photos into a Wave, while you’re clicking on the upload button in Yahoo, watching that little thing spin around.

You gotta wake up to what’s going on man. Next year you won’t have a blog, you’ll be on a Google Wave, along with everyone else in the universe. Most likely Google wave will be, FREE! Google rocks and you know it.

I haven’t paid for a thing with Google, but I know they have paid versions of their free stuff. The paid versions must be awesome, because that free stuff… works perfectly.

If you want to bad mouth a company, write about IE, any version.


Jordan – After walking through the jungle over and over, I’ve learned that it makes a clearing, which I call a “path.” It makes it really easy to get through the jungle! I’m not really sure what else could come of this idea, but I’ve shared it with my tribe and taught others how to do this even though not all are early adopters. I feel this could bring great benefit to me, but I haven’t really thought of how yet.

The above is what Google has done. And continues to do in Wave, for that matter ;) Having everything laid out beforehand can not only make a project fail miserably due to no adoption from users, but can severely limit the vision of possibilities. What if the jungle guy above told his tribe about these “paths” he’d made, but demanded that if they use them they pay? It would have never ever caught on. But today I am very thankful for some toll roads. What if Jungle-man had only made paths to the berry-patches and had kept the secret of path-creation to himself? The berry patches would have been consumed very quickly, and trade routes would never have been established with other tribes. It’s a very good thing that ideas like “path” get shared, and others come up with more way to improve or use them. That’s all google has done here.

Your contempt for innovation that doesn’t bow immediately to the bottom line is pretty much a summary of everything that’s gone wrong in america that hopefully won’t infect the globalizing world. I believe in capitalism (at least generally, over other models), but not at the expense of moving forward.

The thing I think most people are overlooking with Wave is the fact that the biggest deal about Wave isn’t Google. It’s the fact that it is a new protocol. The fact of the matter is, when Instant Messaging first starting becoming popular (outside of BBS systems,) everyone build their own protocols. Closed systems that could not communicate with each other. AOL had theirs. Yahoo had theirs. ICQ had theirs. Microsoft had theirs. This walled garden approach pretty much sucks. It makes it difficult for people to truly communicate. It’s not like phones where I can have AT&T for service and you can have MCI for service (are they even still around?) and we can talk to each other without caring which service provider we are using. Once instant messaging came about, this was a different story. If I was on ICQ, I needed to only communicate with you using ICQ… etc…

To solve this problem, people started writing apps to communicate with multiple services. Digsby, Pidgin, and Trillian are some that come to mind. This is an uphill battle, though… each chat service continues to change their design, add new features, and making it generally difficult for makers of these applications to keep pace. Jabber, an open protocol, is a great solution, but it would require all other players to follow suit. They didn’t. Google did with Google Talk, but it still wasn’t enough. Then, Google tried convincing everyone to federate their systems. Nobody bought it.

The next era of communications is going to be collaborative documents hosted in the cloud. It is already happening but is still in its infancy in terms of widespread adoption. So, THIS is the time to create the open standard that hopefully all others will adopt instead of resorting to their own closed proprietary standards.

THIS is what Wave is. It isn’t just “an application”… it isn’t just “a Google product.” They have created a new protocol to which any and all developers can build applications for. Anyone can build and run their own Wave server. They needn’t be tied to Google. I suspect, at some point, Microsoft will even profit from Microsoft Wave (or something similar)… the same way they “borrowed SQL” then built SQL Server, convincing everyone to pronounce it “sequel” and not “S-Q-L”.

If Wave succeeds (nevermind Google)… we all win. We will be able to mashup Microsoft cloud services with Yahoo cloud services with AOL cloud services with Amazon cloud services with Google cloud services. If Wave fails, then it will just end up being the API people can use to tie into Google’s collaborative services and applications.

In all likelihood they are not going to DIRECTLY profit from Wave, even if it succeeds. They will, however, INDIRECTLY profit from it. Wave makes the Internet a whole lot more useful. The more useful the Internet is, the more people who will use it and use it more often. When more people use the Internet and use it more often, they see and interact with more ads. Most of those ads are through Google, so they reap the majority of the rewards.


Not only that, but Google is likely to be the primary Wave provider for the time being.

I’m sure that’s what they’re banking on in terms of trying to monetize this. By creating an open standard, then being the first to release it, they will be the only option for a little while. It may draw more people to Google Apps… which leads to a certain amount of sign-up for the paid version, which is money in their pockets. Then, when others come out with their own Wave servers, there will be some competition for Google, but not much… not until a big player jumps on the bandwagon, like Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo, AOL, etc… This would simultaneously compete with Google AND legitimatize the protocol.

I’m really hoping it takes off only because, as a developer, I see a huge potential for this. Sure, I could have created the protocol myself… and created a service myself… but protocols like this ONLY succeed if MANY players jump into the foray. If I had built this, nobody would have cared. The fact that a big player is behind this, it has a chance. Of course, it could also be a double-edged sword. Since it IS Google, and many big corporations are scared of their growing size, rather than adopting the protocol, we might see emerging and competing protocols, which will put us right back into the same boat we’ve been in with instant messaging clients.


no wonder you’re just a writer!

google wave is truly revolutionary. are you blind?


I disagree with most of the sentiment of this post. A little consideration of the phrase “equal parts document and IM” hints that, rather than being one of Google Labs’ less-money-centric ideas, this is actually unifying at least 4 of these smaller diverse areas – maps, mail, gtalk, docs – into one snazzy product. Further consideration of the common protocol, as shown in the I.O video, says quite plainly that you’ll be able to run your own server and interoperate by common protocol, which is just how the Internet *should* be run. And yet more consideration of the nature of extensions shows further great potential for this being the unifying interface between currently quite disparate technologies (bloggy, etc).

What it needs is community acceptance like gmail still receives, and it will fly for the good of all, not money-minded articles such as this pissing on it before it’s got off the ground.

Gregg L. DesElms

Thinking of Wave in terms of “replacing” such as GMAIL (or even email, itself) is just silly. Not every Internet communication needs to be (or even should be) as would be in Wave. Traditional email, at the very least, should (and likely will) never go away. Of this, I think there should be little fear or doubt.

Now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a place — and a potent one, indeed — in our lives for such as Wave and its ineluctable variants. It, too, will be useful, under the right circumstances. In fact, from my admittedly only-cursory analysis of it to date, I’m thinking that what actually MAY be “replaced” by Wave, as a practical matter, is traditional “chat,” as we now know it (though traditional chat, mark my words, will continue to be around for years and years, too, no matter how good Wave ultimately gets).

Regardless, one thing about which we should all be clear in our minds is that we’re not talking about the mere replacing of anything, here. Wave, for better or worse, seems very nearly of the nature of paradigm shift… and far be it from me to suggest that that’s, necessarily, a bad thing, here.

It does, however, come with pitfalls about which we should all be watchful, if not actually downright concerned. For example, though it’s now coming out in articles (and/or rebuttals to such as I am posting here) that it’s likely to be user-configurable, initial writings about Wave touted the ability (and represented it as essential to Wave’s very way of operating) of all persons in a “wave” (or a thread) to be able to see, in real time, all others’ keystrokes, as they type.

Let me repeat the salient words of that, here: AS. THEY. TYPE.

Think about that, please, for just a moment. It’s a far larger problem than, perhaps, it initially seems. Like how sausage is made (or, as some joke, like how laws are passed), some things in life may better be left something of a mystery to those who ultimately consume (or are regulated by) them; and, most importantly, solely at the creator’s option.

The ultimate impact and meaning to the reader of anything written would be inordinately influenced by said reader’s having been a witness to its creation. If one is a thoughtful writer who doesn’t just blurt out every wayward thing which flits through one’s brain, then one is going to pause to think while one types, and back-up and delete and re-type, and whatever else behind-the-scenes activity goes into what ends-up being the finished written product. If the reader were able to witness what the writer merely paused before writing; or actually did write, but then thought better of and either removed or changed to something else, then the bell of what the reader saw along the way cannot be un-rung; and the reader’s ultimate interpretation and understanding of the final written result will be indelibly affected in ways (even if not immediately obvious) more likely than not to be inherently bad for all concerned.

Now, if it’s true, as some who challenge such as my assertions, here, are now saying, that the ability of others to view one’s keystrokes as one makes them is (or at least will be) user-configurable in the version of Wave which is finally released to the end-user wild, then my concern, at least on this particular privacy-related point, is happily ameliorated.

However, of larger philosophical concern to me is that the creators of Wave apparently believed, even if only briefly, that something as basic as this issue would not be important. What, then (if anything), does that mean we should also be wary of in the realm of personal privacy protections, just generally, for users of this new and groundbreaking product? For what else should we be watching which may, ultimately, negatively impact us because of fundamental, and at least initially seemingly harmless, privacy encroachments…

…encroachments which may not even be recognizable as encroachments to Wave’s creators because, perhaps, of their nationality and upbringing (nothing negative, mind you, intended by that wording, I assure).

One potentially troubling impact (at least from the standpoint of Americans, in my opinion) of globalization (which, incidentaly, I’m not fundamentally against, despite how what I’m about to write may make it seem) is how the sensibilities of those non-Americans who create things which all others on the planet end-up using can unintentionally contravene that which Americans hold perhaps nearer and dearer to their hearts than do non-American others. Those who grew up and still live in countries where such things as privacy and freedom of speech are not as absolute and paramount as in the US may or may not necessarily value such rights to the same degree as do Americans; and it sometimes shows in their work.

It has not escaped my notice that the two brothers — brilliant though they are — who created and continue to develop Wave were neither born and raised in, nor now live in, the US… and so I fear (and I may be completely wrong about this, I realize… but absent, at this point, any reason not to, I am nevertheless fearing that they) may not place as much of a premium on the notion of absolute privacy (if desired by the end-user of Wave) as do Americans.

Or, who knows, maybe they do. I don’t know them, and it’s unfair of me to presume, I suppose (or even to suppose, I presume). One way or the other, though, it should be at least a concern to all that the default behavior of Wave seems so inherently and joltingly privacy-denuding.

So, then, again, begged is the question: Of what else (if anything), in Wave, should we who hold inviolate our privacy be wary?

To appeal to (at least thinking) Americans, the makers of Wave need to take steps to ensure that if the end-user wants to protect his/her absolute privacy while using this admittedly exciting and paradigm-shifting new product, it can, via easy configuration settings, be satisfactorily and incontrovertibly achieved at all possible levels, and in all possible ways. Moreover, as it is developed, the makers of Wave might need to realize that they may, because of their nationality and upbringing, not necessarily even recognize what all of those levels and ways might be; and the Americans (or even the non-Americans who at least fully grasp the American viewpoint regarding all this) who work on the development of Wave should ensure that no privacy holes such as I’m discussing here remain anywhere in it when it’s finally and fully released into the end-user wild.

Or so it is my opinion… my two cents worth, as it were…

…which my ex-wife, for example, among others, has been known to quickly attest tends to be about all it’s usually worth.

Gregg L. DesElms
Napa, California


Gregg wrote:
>To appeal to (at least thinking) Americans, the makers of Wave need to take steps to ensure that if the end-user wants to protect his/her absolute privacy

You didn’t watch the presentation, did you?

They gave a demonstration of a conversation between users on three different Wave servers, each running a client written by a different vendor. When user B sends a private message to user C then not only does user A not see it, the message is never sent to their server.

If you (or someone you trust) both writes the software and runs the server, they can verify that this is the case and your privacy is assured.

There’s also an option to turn off character-by-character sending, as there should be since I think a lot of people will find it annoying.


You’ve got it all wrong. Wave is not a product, it’s a service, an API and a new communication paradigm. Did you think that the guy who invented email was thinking how to monetize it?


I am wondering what Google really means by open source. I suspect it means that they will own and control the code and allow the programming universe to contribute towards it.
I dont think it means you can go and get the wave source code and deploy it in any fashion you might wish. I think Google will control deployment and outside developers will be limited to contributing towards its success and using the API library.
Did anyone ask what they mean exactly by “open source”?

Kjetil T.

The protocol is what matters, and it’s built on top of XMPP. The draft specification (still very incomplete) is written in the style of other Internet standards from the IETF, and I presume they intend to try to publish it as an RFC. So it really seems like Google is serious about making this an open platform. Who cares if Google’s own implementation is open source if anyone can write an interoperating product?

BTW, can you imagine writing the server software which can update its state and revision history, and notify the other participating servers for a given wave, for every single keypress the user makes? With a thousand million potential users, that’s a tall task.


Jordan – I heard somewhere that people can be seriously hurt by these new inventions called “Wheels” and “Fire”, I think we should move to stop all development on these products at once…

Habib Ullah Khan

I am hardly a Google fan. But purely from a business perspective if someone has massive cash flow from one operation and uses that to mercilessly search for the next big thing while failing at most of them…. Well I call that accelerated innovation. This is why the next big thing doesnt happen so often. The road to it is littered wiuth failures and not many can afford to fail as many times as Google.

Since when is failure a bad thing (Esp if you can afford it!). Isnt Silicon Valley one of the few places on Earth that genuinely respects and counts failure as a a cultural pillar?

Nothing wrong with trying to change the world. One man’s arrogance is the potential saving grace of many hundreds of millions. As long as Google makes my life easier I do not mind it trying to take over the world. Hostory has shown that every generation has a new Google. We’ll all be okay in the long run.


I am totally with you (except that I am a Google fan!) The creativity and freedom that Google allows its engineers, the “do now, ask questions later” approach, the “let’s see if we can do this cool thing and worry about how/if to make money off it later” is exactly what makes Google one of the most vital, flexible, fit-for-the-future companies. To try things and then drop them because they’re not working out or out of lack of interest or because something more compelling is emerging elsewhere is exactly what people and companies are best allowing themselves to do. It’s part of dynamic creativity to not cling to something and work it into the ground just because it seemed like a good idea at first. (Sticktoativity is about sticking to inspiration, not to a project that’s lost life and meaning, just because Dad said you’ve got to stick to things!)

But this wisdom in action is what makes people like this Golson just shrivel and churn with toxic envy, fall back on some limiting, crippling bs about monetizing.

Please Golson! Get out of the way and let the people with real inspiration, flexibility and vitality lead us into the future!!


I thought it was funny when people where cheering during the presentation that characters went back and forth as they typed. What, no-one ever chatted on BBS back in the “pre-Internet” era (i.e. when BBSes were more used than Internet)? We had chat like that back then with 2400 baud modems. Sure, Wave is much more, but that’s hardly something to cheer about.


Did anybody miss that it is open source? One of the demonstrations on the presentation was a ‘company’ that chose to ‘build it themselves’ unless I mis-understood, the open source code will be available to all. I am not a programmer, I use Blender3d as an artist (sort of!) that is open source and now challenges high end 3d apps. So the wave code wont go away, open social will revolutionise the way things are done.


It is easy to moan and say, “That will never work! Pfft, how will they make money from that?”

All I can say is, who cares if they it doesn’t make money directly. If their advertising business can support a cool technology like Waves then great. Also, something doesn’t have to provide revenue directly to be useful to a company. It can drive revenue in an indirect and supportive fashion.

Also, it is about removing oxygen from the room. Microsoft (and the other big software vendors) have NOTHING like this. Not even close. If Google can make something like this popular and self sufficient and remain ahead of the other big boys it will be able to keep driving revenue from supporting services to other parts of their business.

Also, I see a lucrative business in selling Waves as a collaborative platform to businesses, large and small.

I’m forced to use Microsoft products in a corporate environment every day and none of them are as useful to me as stuff I use on the web outside of work.

When I return to running my own small business, I plan on using primarily online SaaS style apps for practically everything.

Mohit Agrawal

I also think that Google has not been successful in any venture apart from Search. All other successful businesses of Google were not invented at Google but were bought over by them. It was the passion of Larry & Sergey that made them successful in their venture against established companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. For me Google has been part of my virtual identity since I started flirting with internet. However, now when I look around and see the growth of completely unknown companies in this space, I feel that Google may not be able to keep pace with them on passion, nimbleness and more importantly consumer understanding. Read my entire article at

Do let me know if you agree with the issues I have raised in my post

Guillaume Thoreau

I think Wave will have a tremendous impact because a “wave” is metaphorically closer to a real-world thread of communication between people. The narrative of a wave encapsulate many others in a simple and elegant form.


Who is going to write these plug-in’s and make $$ outside of Google? Doesn’t seem to be an incentive unless you like to work for free.

I’m sure Wave will be rolled into a corporate service and sold per seat to compete against Microsoft and IBM as the ultimate collaborative tool. Given the the concept of compound documents and linking has long existed prior Google has done a nice job of expanding the concept with real time collaboration features. This will never displace existing corporate collaborative tools easily unless they can put “Wave on an appliance” like google search.


I don’t think you know the definition of the word “arrogance.”

So, as an independent developer, I couldn’t care less whether Google makes money from Wave. What I care about is how I can make money from Wave. I’m pretty sure I can make money building software on MSFT’s platform, can the same be said about a Google “platform”?


Not sure if I agree with u. The potential to embed content and context is huge. Working on collaborative documents is painful and wave addresses that. There is so much more too


Yes, great article. Pure research and development should never be done unless there is a business plan and the bankers agree with it. Like Twitter does not have a revenue strwam yet It should never of even been thought of until they knew how to profit off of it. Same with the original google. I mean, the way they never let anyone search or access it until they had the complete ad sense thing worked out.

What an idiot.

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