Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'll show you a wave

Google is busy working on a new product that has the potential to revolutionize the way we communicate. It's called Google Wave and it essentially combines elements of email, instant messaging, online documents and online photo storage in a mashed up way that enhances the power of each type of communication. The beauty of it is that it's all in one web application.

The possibilities suggested so far range from the extremely simple - instant messaging in which the person you are communicating with can see your reply as you type rather than waiting for the send key; to the more complex - dragging a Twitter feed or photo directly into a conversation rather than having to send a link; to the mind boggling - bloggers writing their posts live (within a wave frame) on their website with readers (using wave) making comments as they go. In real time.

But it goes far beyond that. One of the powers of the wave is that any wave can be segmented so that you can reply to parts of any message rather than to the message as a whole and any wave can give birth to private conversations between only select wave participants, or branch off to new waves. This can get confusing of course if you jump into a wave that's been going a while, for which there's the playback feature, where you can see who said or added what and when. I think it's going to take a while before the masses truly understand how powerful this tool can be.

This video gives a long demonstration of the application in a very early developer preview, but the main gist is seen in the first 33 minutes. Supposedly, this is hitting the streets by the end of 2009. If I ever find myself wanting to collaborate about anything, I think this is what I'll be using 6 months from now.

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