Google Wave: Gmail on Speed with Extra Features
Article by George Norman
On 29 May 2009
At the I/O 2009 event organized by Google at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, we got to see plenty of interesting new things (like Web Elements and a new Google Earth layer); it was also the place were the question was raised whether Google will ever take the Beta tag off some of its products (yes, Google says it will, eventually). Google now showcased yet another tool that will be made available later this year and that will make communication and collaboration online a piece of cake: Google Wave.

Software Engineering Manager, Lars Rasmussen comments: “Here's how it works: In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. It's concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content — it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use "playback" to rewind the wave and see how it evolved.”


According to Lars Rasmussen, the code for Google Wave will be open source and the developer community is more than welcomed to get involved with the project. Google Wave will be made available to the public later this year (no precise date has been provided), but until that happens the Mountain View search engine giant wants developers to add “all kinds of cool stuff” to Wave. There will be three layers to Google Wave: the product, the platform and the protocol.

Just as a little recap, here is what you can do with Wave (keep in mind that for the time being the functionality is limited):
- communicate with your friends and contacts just like you do with an IM client.
- communicate with your friends just like you do with an email client.
- collaborate online (edit rich media content at the same time).
- get rid of annoying typos. Google Wave includes a context-sensitive spell checker which works like this: as you type in your message, Wave uses language models from Google Translate to highlight any errors (like words that do not belong there).
- Google Wave APIs allow you to embed waves in web pages; it also allows you to add live social gadgets.

A more detailed presentation of Google Wave is available here.

Tags: Google, Google Wave, I/O 2009
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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