Thursday, November 5, 2009

Riding the Google Wave

Google is pretty much a house hold name at this point in the 21st century. Starting with a search engine they have slowly been expanding themselves into almost every technological market you can think of. Email, blogs, web browsers, mobile phones, and of course web searches are all things Google has a foot in these days. Today I am going to take a moment to talk about one of Google's up coming projects: Google Wave.

Wave is Google's latest attempt to revolutionize the web. At a glance Wave looks very much like any of our common email clients. It allows you to organize contacts and messages (referred to from here on out as "waves") in one central place. The thing that makes Wave revolutionary in today's world full of different web applications is the way in which the waves function. A wave is essentially a real time thread that you can add and subtract information from at your leisure. You can have both public and private waves, share a message with just your friend(s) or the entire world.

Another feature that sets Wave apart from standard Email is the ability to "embed" different objects into a wave. What can be embedded in a wave? Just about everything you can think of, maps, pictures, videos, flash content, or documents just to name a few. Waves are also created dynamically in real time, ever wish you could get a message quicker? Why wait for the person on the other end to press send? With Wave as soon as someone adds you to a wave you can see in real time what they are typing, embedding, or adding to the wave. From this stems the most powerful use for Wave - the ability for multiple people to be editing a Wave at the same time. Creating a presentation with friends? You no longer have to wait for everyone to do their share and then send it to you so you can add your part. With wave you can all be working in a document at the same time and see who is adding what to the wave and when. Now with all of this collaborative editing occurring it is only a matter of time before someone removes or edits something you might have wanted to keep - don't worry your information isn't gone. Each wave contains a replay button that allows you to watch the time-line of a given wave, basically it lets you replay from start to finish what has been added and subtracted to a wave and in what order.

Still not impressed? Wave has one more trick up it's sleeve to impress you with - waves can be embedded into web pages. The truly phenomenal thing about this is if you post in say tens (or hundreds or even thousands) of different waves around the net all of these different waves will also be collected within your Google Wave inbox. This means in order to check on conversations you have going on all over the internet you can just check one place instead of jumping all over the web. As with private waves you can also embedded different files to your heart's content within wave on a webpage.

Last but not least I feel I should mention that Google Wave runs fully within your web browser. No extra application installation necessary. Wave is currently in an "alpha preview" state and I received my invitation to begin using it some weeks back now. It is a project worth keeping your eye on and once it comes into maturity I have no doubt it will become a major tool in the web-based world in which we live today.

~Jeff Hoogland

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