Surf's up with Google Wave

Oct 01, 2009 by Doina

Google wave logoWhen something web-related hits a fair amount of success, we can be sure that, sooner or later, it will be acquired by the larger players in the game. And now, the game quite literally belongs to Google Inc., Mountain View, CA.

Their newest score is a web application called Google Wave that was released in beta just yesterday. The app should be a way in which users can communicate online at a totally different level (not emphatically, tough, we're not that bionic).

Around 100,000 people got to play with the Wave, which is basically an e-mail-chat-Wiki documents-blog-photo sharing combo, or as Google calls it, a “hosted conversation”, or a “wave”. The app was first introduced earlier this year, at the May Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco.  Creators of the app were Jens and Lars Rasmussen, the brothers who also developed Google Maps. Their hope is that Google Wave will replace e-mail as the main way people communicate on the Internet in the future.

Everyone can surf on the same wave. As such, in Wave, several users can simultaneously edit e-mail-like communications. Users can chat about specific parts of Wave documents in real-time mode, and they can see what someone is typing as they type it. Pretty much like TiVo, if you're late to the game, you can just play back everything that happened.

As Jens Rasmussen stated, e-mail is a computer version of snail mail. Wave will be a new thing, a real-time communication system designed specifically for today's fast-paced, multitasking online environment.

While the app was received with great enthusiasm, it nonetheless presented bugs and glitches, and the fear that it might be just too complicated for average Web users. The video demonstration that the Rasmussens provided also takes a lingering one hour and 20 minutes for explaining Wave. As we can see, it's not really your simple Twitter-away style.

The beta version lacks some pretty basic features. Multiple user tasking lacks functionality, user groups or permissions can not be created, draft mode doesn't exist yet, and users can not be removed from a Wave once they join in. Developers plan to repair and improve the existing version before this year's launch. The final version will also include Featured Extensions, which show the capabilities of the Wave API, a key component of the project. These extensions have taken several months to be developed, and there are also plans for an extension store, similar to Apple's App Store, where developers can add and sell their products.

"Wave offers a very sleek and easy way to navigate and participate in communication on the Web that makes both email and instant messaging look stale," stated TechCrunch's MG Siegler.


Tags: Future  Google 


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