Google Wave First Look

Google Wave is the latest buzz to hit the internet shores. The Web search giant—it has already sent out 1,00,000 select invites for a limited preview—has announced what it claims to be the future of all internet conversations.

What Wave does is to integrate e-mail, instant messaging (IM), collaboration, Google maps as well as search. It actually empowers your browser to handle all your communication needs. The Wave, however, requires a Chrome Frame plug-in to function on the ubiquitous Internet Explorer as of now. The preferred browsers seem to be Chrome, open source Firefox and Apple’s Safari.

As Google Wave’s engineering manager Lars Rasmussen puts it: “Wave is an attempt at redefining communication over the internet.” It’s a contemporary take at the four-decade-old e-mail. Google makes an innovation leap with the Wave. Wave is both a product and an open source platform for developers for building new apps.

Wave’s most striking feature is its speed. It lets users transfer data, pictures and files realtime and also facilitates collaborative editing. Every letter typed in is transmitted immediately into the other user’s Wave. Even images can be transmitted with almost no time loss.

Once a new wave is created, akin to composing a mail in your e-mail account, you can add contacts and the wave is sent to them. All the people included in the wave can immediately reply or start editing the wave.
John Misczak, a student from Pensylvania, US, says: “I would like it (Wave) to become my one-stop-shop for everything on the Web. Answer my GMail, check my Google Calendar, read my feeds on Google reader, and update my Blogspot blog.”

There are also a few common-sense applications that can come in handy for business users as well as others. Wave’s map application lets you plan trips using Google maps on the Wave collaboratively. An application that Google calls the ‘Yes/No/Maybe’ gadget is an efficient collaborative tool that helps start an instant poll among friends or for business. A poll on the public wave, do you like Wave?, using the Yes/No/Maybe gadget had 39 respondents of which an overwhelming 27 said yes and 10 said maybe and only 2 said no.

Once a wave is initiated, anybody involved in the wave can reply to or edit any part of the original wave. For one, if the initiator of the wave sends out five questions and the other user can click on each question and answer it right below.

An interesting feature of the Wave is the playback button. Even if a person is invited into a wave much later, he’ll still be able to view the entire thread using the very useful playback button, which lets users see the entire wave one change at a time using a slider.

Google has also added gaming apps such as sudoku and hangman. Also, widgets like Bloggy and Tweety the Twitbot lets users publish waves on their blogs and also update their Twitter accounts from the Wave itself. Wave has an easy-to-use interface with a flexible design template. Being a developer preview, Wave’s a bit buggy and many features still don’t respond such as folders.


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