Google is set to release a new toy in the form of Google Wave – a unified communications platform.
Previewed at the Google I/O conference in San Fransisco last week – and opened up to a “small number of developers worldwide
” afterwards – Google Wave is an attempt by everyone's favourite data warehouse to create a unified system for communicating via voice, text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
The general principle is that multiple users will be able to set up a collaborative environment known as a “wave
.” In this wave, participants will be able to directly edit the contents or add replies – much like a wiki. Updates are made instantaneously, to the point of participants actually being able to see each individual letter as it is typed – a worrying thought for anyone who makes as many typos as I do.
Lars Rasmussen, Google's software engineering manager, believes that the traditional stalwarts of digital communications – e-mail and instant messaging – are feeling a little stagnant since they were developed in the sixties. Rasmussen hopes that Wave will act as “a new communications model that presumes all these advances
” such as blogs, wikis, collaborative document workspaces and the like “as a starting point.
Two years in development, Wave isn't quite ready for the big-time yet – with still some way to go before even entering the beta stage that so many Google products appear to languish in. That said, the company has an impressive range of plans for the technology – including a full set of APIs which will allow developers to build their own interfaces and add-ins, include Google Wave integration in their own applications, or simply embed Waves into their websites.
Perhaps best of all, Google is planning to offer Wave under an open-souce licence with full access to the source code – much as the company already does with its popular Android Linux-based mobile platform.
Although Wave isn't open to the public yet, Google has put a video
demonstration up for the curious.
Does Wave look like the future of communications to you, or is it nothing more than a real-time wikiw ith a small audience? Share your thoughts over in the forums