The Google Wave beta program rolled out a bunch of Beta invitations lately. I discussed this with a friend, the marketing value of an invitation model for software.
GMail started as an invitation, most people I know started using GMail as they were invited by others. I my self started with GMail after a friend evangelized the interface.
I believe that Google hopes to apply the same marketing model to Google Wave, and as far as I know they will succeed with it as well.
Now lets consider the benefits.
- They can build hype, but still release the product early for feedback
- They can scale slowly, making sure the system can handle the load as the user base grows
- They can target specific users for invitations, say 20% targets students, 20% targets media, and then som distributions between web browsers and operative systems
Now the targeting of users is interesting. This part is just hypothesis, but in theory they could use search to look up people. For example, they could find people on Facebook and see what kind of friends they have, even interests for example. They can check out whom follows who on twitter. All in all, they can in theory data mine the net to target out specific users whom will fill the role for Marketing, Feedback and Development.Note that I do not believe that Google does this kind of datamining, but I believe that they are capable of it. Just as anyone is capable of it, there are even services available for this specific task.