Google Wave reportedly--my request for an invitation to the Google Wave Beta has, alas, gone unanswered--combines features of email, chat, wikis, desktop sharing and social networking. I use all of these tools today, but it is hard to make them work together. Instead, these tools have become islands of automation--bridged, at best, by copying and pasting--in the sea of online communication.
A Google Wave is a workspace which contains a threaded conversation, with messages and multimedia attachments, in which all content is stored on the server. According to Daniel Tenner, by preserving content in a single workspace and adapting to conversations with both lengthy and brief replies, Google Wave addresses key challenges of using email threads for complex or lengthy discussions:
- Inadvertently forked threads resulting from someone replying to an earlier message
- A late addition to the thread missing some an attachment or content buried earlier in a thread
- Inadvertent or unnoticed addition or removal of discussion participants
Wave is not only a browser-based service, but its federation protocol is an open standard and some of its Java code is open source. Application programming interfaces (APIs) are also available for developers to develop gadgets and robots, and embed waves in their web applications. Clearly, Google intends to foster a widely-used set of interoperable Wave services.
You can request a Wave beta invitation here. Good luck! Have any of you actually used Google Wave? What would you use it for?