Google Wave – Future of Email and Instant Messenger

3 minute read

Google have just made public a new project Google Wave which has been developed in the Google Sydney office over the past 2 years. Google Wave isn’t due for release until later this year, but they have given the public and eager developers an overview of the product through a 1.5 hour presentation and demo.

What is Google Wave? It is a new model of real time communication based on the principals of Web 2.0 and social networking. From Google:

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.

A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

Simply, Google Wave can be seen as a combination of Instant Messenger, Email, Blogging, Google Docs and any other web based project management/collaboration tool you might use. It is like Instant Messenger on steroids!

I watched most of the presentation/demo and some features I noted include:

  • Emails are replaced with discussion: No data is transferred to and from an email server, rather through your browser you post comments to a conversation.
  • Users can be added or removed from a conversation at anytime.
  • There is a playback feature which allows users added to a conversation to play back the order comments are posted.
  • Comments can be inserted anywhere into a discussion or document.
  • When you add comments other users can view characters as you type.
  • Images and other media can be inserted into a discussion or document.
  • The discussion or document can easily be linked into a blog and published.

This communication model has long been used in project management software like Basecamp & ActiveCollab but this is the first time it has attempted to replace general email. To encourage quick integration, Google Wave has an API which allows developers to hook-in and build applications for users. This is great for the real estate industry, as it means forward thinking real estate software companies with CRM and email based systems can enhance their products by taking advantage of this free open source Google application.

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