Google Wave Tide Of Collaboration Now Ashore

Google wave is a new service just introduced minutes ago at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. It is a tool that combines email and messaging, with Google's Wave keeping track of conversations. Each individual conversation is called a 'wave'. The application allows tagging to help you keep track of all your waves.

It tends to transmit character by character, rather than by typing a sentence and then transmitting it. The conversation speeds up considerably.

It has a feature that allows you to bring in a new users immediately; they can replay the conversation up to that point. Compare it to email, where it can be difficult to bring in a new party to a long set of emails.

You can easily drag your pictures into a Wave conversation as well. The entire conversation, or portions thereof, can be placed immediately into you blog as well. If you update the captions on the photographs, the photo captions are updated across the system, in everyone's Wave control panel and in all of the blogs in which they appear.

Those of you who are familiar with similar kinds of 'whiteboard' applications may recognize some of the other features, like the ability to upload and collaborate on a document. (I actually had a similar idea and fleshed it out in 2001; I called it 'UpJot' [as in Don't Jot it Down, Jot It Up!]). However, Google may be the only company to be able to really pull it off, because they have the infrastructure to support it.

They just showed four people simultaneously editing a document; pretty cool stuff. It also handles different languages in the same document, for those global multilingual conversations you have.

The application is written on Google Web Toolkit; all of this is accomplished within a regular browser window; there is no need to download a separate program and configure it. As far as science-fictional predecessors are concerned, I was strongly reminded of the backend support for the Joymaker device from the 1965 novel The Age of the Pussyfoot, which also offered strong collaborative features.

I'm live-blogging this, and I'll probably have it complete by the end of the talk, which should occur at ten o'clock PST.

This is a prototype look at a new product only for developers; Google plans on introducing it this fall for everyone else.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/28/2009)

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