Google Wave was released at the recent Google I/O event as a demo product. It is an amazing real time collaboration and communication platform with email, instant messaging and heaps more combined to form an awesome product.
The demo product is an HTML 5 applicaion built using the Google Web Toolkit . Wave is being released as an open source product. Its open platform encourages developers to build other Wave clients, extensions and embed waves in other web pages and platforms. The product is characterised by the 3P’s namely product, platform and protocol.
The brothers Jens and Lars Rasmussen from Google Australia are the creators of this incredible product. Their previous creation was Google Maps which is now the defacto standard for online mapping of geographical locations. This has taken a good couple of years to develop and bring it to its current form. Jens stressed this fact to the audience – You must remember that all this is happening in your browser.
How Google Wave Works
You create a wave and add contacts to it. All the contacts on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, videos, gadgets and feeds from other sites on the web. All members can edit the wave directly and also insert replies. You can see all the edits in real time as the changes are made to the wave by others.You can be running a Firefox browser and your friend can be on Safari browser. You can add as many contacts as you want.
The playback feature is a very powerful feature. If a new contact joins the wave, she can see the collaboration and communication that has taken place in a certain form at that point of time. By clicking playback, she can see how the whole wave has evolved from the beginning to the point of time she joined the wave. This is a very powerful feature especially when teams are working on different parts of the same project document.
Some of the really cool features are:
- Google Wave offers plain vanilla type email conversation where you can send emails to contacts you choose to.
- Instant messaging where unlike the typical IM chat, you see the message – Sarah is typing
before you get to see the message once Sarah is done typing, in a wave, you see the chat transferred character by character in real time
- Use playback to see how the wave has evolved to its current shape
- Drag and drop attachments, say photos, into the wave from your desktop and everyone else on the wave can see it almost instantly
- API for embedding your wave to web pages such as a blog
- Wave can be embedded in social media sites like Orkut
- You can participate in a wave from your mobile phone
- Editing of the wave in real time and edits appear instantly with markups denoting the different edits
- Ability to send a private message to a particular contact which others cannot see
- Teams working on a project document can collaborate in real time and communicate simultaneously when working on it
Google Wave can be viewed as a platform with a rich collection of open APIs. This allows developers to build new extensions that can work with waves and also embed waves in other web services.
The Google Wave Federation Protocol is the basis for storing and sharing waves with the all important live concurrency mechanism which allows edits to be viewed in real time across contacts and services. This protocol is designed such that any user’s wave services can communicate with each other and with the Google Wave service. This is going to be achieved by making the Google Wave protocol code open source.
An excellent video on the Google Wave demo  by the development team will give you a great idea of the amazing features that have been built into it.
Google is encouraging the developer community to create some cool apps that can be incorporated into the Google Wave before it is made public. You can sign up at http://wave.google.com to be notified of the release date when Google Wave is launched as a public product.
Ravi Venkatesan is a senior search marketing consultant at Netconcepts, our Auckland search engine optimisation  company in New Zealand. He also posts regularly to the Online Marketer blog at www.onlinemarketer.co.nz