I’ve just viewed this 90-minute video demo of Google Wave, Google’s new collaboration and communication tool. Lars Rasmussen, one of the key developers, does the ‘Google wave dance’ during his presentation, while he hopes the demo won’t crash!
It looks like Google Wave integrates a number of services (email, instant messaging, forms, etc) that we’re already pretty familiar with – bundling them together under a set of ‘google waves’. Built with Google web toolkit, Google Wave shows us that it is possible to collaborate and communicate in real time… without leaving the browser.
Email and IM are two of the tools that have been merged to create a real-time interaction between contacts. In theory, you’ll be able to have conversations, play them back, and leave a ‘history’ which can be accessed at any time. No more waiting when messanging and no more hand editing emails to insert your responses.
The playback functionality sounds impressive and fixes the often time-consuming process of finding the email thread you had a few days ago.
Not only you will be able to see real time data from your contacts but you’ll also be able to edit stuff collaboratively. This turns Google Wave into a production tool where, for example, your PM could write a set of notes that could then be edited by all parties. What’s more is that if any of those parties joined the conversation at a later stage, they can play back the conversation that took place earlier showing the history of the editing and the exact point at which they joined the conversation. This could have a positive effect on productivity.
Another example of real time interaction is the ability to upload photos, with your contacts able to view them instantly – and edit them if they wish.
There are other ‘waves’ that users would be able to add like blogging, video, linking, their social network, etc. It also appears that Twitter can add another layer of communication, and of course, Google Wave wouldn’t be complete without a ‘wave search’.
I thought the ‘bean soup’ demo spell checker was very impressive – spell-checking in real time, based on the context and not just on a word.
‘Languages’ is another added ‘wave’, a robot capable of translating from and into 40 languages, and guess what? In real time.
Google Wave will be ‘open’, allowing any organisation to create and host their own system and be able to interact with other systems around the globe, retaining privacy between systems. Developers will be able to create extensions and gadgets like games via the Google wave API.
Looks like Google Wave is a real contender in the ‘collaboration’ space… and one that businesses should investigate seriously. I can’t wait to try it out when it is released later this year.