Posted May 28, 2009 1:40 pm by with 13 comments

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google_wave_logoYou know, just the other day I was using my email and I found myself scoffing with disgust. “This is so last century!”

Okay, not really. But apparently down at Google Australia, that’s exactly what they’ve been thinking lately—and Lars and Jens Rasmussen and Stephanie Hannon came up with a way to revolutionize email and instant messaging called Google Wave. As Lars says, “Wave is what email would look like if it were invented today.” (Official announcement.)

After a long demo, TechCrunch’s MG Siegler was inclined to agree with the seeming overstatement. Just reading about this new product is making my head spin. The integration of social and email here goes WAY beyond having a pane for GTalk in your Gmail.

Here’s a screenshot of the basic inbox, from TechCrunch:

The first two columns look pretty familiar if you’re used to the standard Gmail set up: the left-hand navigation has your folders and mailbox features as well as your GTalk contacts. The middle column has the inbox—but the difference here is that these aren’t individual messages, like you’d see in most mail clients, or even threaded “conversations” like you see in Gmail—these are the Waves that give the product its name.

How are Waves different from standard email? Well, for one thing you can communicate in not only “delay time,” like we do with email, but also real time (if you’re both online). And not just like IM, but see-as-you-type real time (though you can enable a “draft” feature if you want your friends to wait and see). Unlike email and even Gmail, you can click anywhere to start typing a reply to your friend’s messages—or other content, since you can include pictures, event invitations, games, maps, Wiki-style content and more.

Waves can also feature more than two people—just drag a friend’s photo from your contacts and drop it in the Wave to add them. They can sue the Playback feature to catch up on what you’ve been discussion.

Your head spinning yet? ‘Cause we’re just getting started.

Waves can remain private in your inbox or be published on the web, fully indexable by search engines. (They say that public waves are clearly marked as such in your inbox and in the wave itself.)

But that’s just the beginning of Wave’s portability. In the second phase of development, Waves will also integrate with other websites as a platform—for example, you could include a post from your blog in a Wave to discuss with friends, and have their comments in the Wave integrate with the comments on your blog (though all the details haven’t been hammered out on that one). Other commenters can also join in the wave.

And it’s not just blogs: the Google Wave team also sees lots of other kinds of sites using Wave for everything from customer service interface to contributor group chats.

And as if all that weren’t enough, Google’s also working hard with developers to make sure that the system is fully featured and ready for the masses. They have 50 internal Google developers who’ve created apps for Wave.

The APIs for Wave open tomorrow (tomorrow), but eventually the whole system is going open source as a protocol for its third phase. has more details on that phase.

Which I know is making you wonder just when this is going to roll out. Google showed the launch at Google I/O, and though APIs are going to be available tomorrow, Wave itself is just a little ahead of its time. Google says its engineers are looking forward to HTML 5, which will enable Wave to operate within the browser without any necessary plugins (well, the “modern” browser, they say to exclude Internet Explorer).

And THAT is all. For now. You can sign up to be notified of the public launch at

So, if you’ve made it this far, what do you think? Are you salivating for the latest evolution of Internet communication, or are you shaking your fist at your monitor shouting “you crazy kids and your new fangled contraptions!”?

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  • spryka

    I just got a copy of and I would recommend to anyone who needs to send out an opt-in email mailshot. Its the best free desktop based email marketing software I have used so far.

  • Makes a hell of a lot of sense, especially as an open platform play.

    My simple net out is that this is a model that deals elegantly with both messages and payloads, where the payloads could be pics, videos, posts, songs, maps, people/product/business listings, etc.

    As such, there is a lot of value in how the handling layer processes these messages/payloads, enabling them to be aggregated and/or filtered into logical constructs, like NOW, LOCAL, TYPE, POPULAR, VIRAL, ENGAGING, etc.

    I blogged about an application model that is very complimentary to this (and for which I have modeled out six very specific use cases) in a post called:

    “Right Here Now” services: weaving a real-time web around status

    Check it out if interested.


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  • And it's Google once again. I think the move to make real time conversation will transform the way we communicate online. Secondly giving power to everyone out there to come out and create their own Waves, is what will drive the product. Whenever it is launched.

  • I don't know… it does sound pretty cool. But I also like being able to compose email and other things when I'm not even connected to the web. So my hope would be that there's a way to do some things offline, too.

  • Its too good to listen that everyone come out with their own waves for driving the product. And its google once again.

  • yes you are right, every one is waiting for Google wave, let hope every one is happy when it launched


  • Hi there,

    For some reason, inspite of the all the great changes and features that google builds into its products. I never seem to be satisfied with the usability of its products. I hope that changes in the future.

    Eddie Gear

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