What exactly is Google Wave?

Published: 21st Oct, 2009

We decided to find out… kind of

Google Wave

Google – they’re the people who brought you Google Mail, Google Calendars, Google Image Search, Google Product Search, Google News, Google Sketchup, Google Chrome, Google Maps, Google Streetview, Google Documents, Google AppEngine and, er, Google. All beautifully simple (and mostly free) products designed to make your life better online. Google Mail is brilliant, and sharing a Google Calendar with your girlfriend means that you’ll never again plan a massive bender with your college fratboy friends on exactly the same night that her dad flies in from Tbilisi to watch her play 5-a-side woman’s football in deepest East London/Essex borders. Great.

And now, we have Google Wave.

So what is it? According to Doctor Wave – Wave’s helper dude – it’s:

“… an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. A wave can be both a conversation and a document where people can discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more”.

It’s also been described as “an attempt at inventing e-mail now, had e-mail never been invented”, so it merges the communication sensibilities of all sorts of social networking and cloud technologies from Twitface to AOL Instant Messenger to Google Docs.

Sound confusing? Here’s a few snippets from the first few waves I’ve participated in, and I’ll leave you to make up your own mind:

“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!”

“I think I spammed myself”

“I have learned that waves of over 114 messages are baffling.”

“I’m confused”

“I’m done with talking, talking is sooooo last century”

“I’m confused”

“Paging Doctor Wave… please help me”

“I’m confused”

In all seriousness, though, Google Wave is in a very early stage of development, and a lot of people on TwitFace are saying they’re pretty surprised that Google have released it to the public already. However, as it’s a new kind of communication that the human race has never dealt with before (think about those black things in 2001: A Space Odyssey), it’s important that the general public make Google Wave into something that allows us all to communicate on a human level extremely intuitively.

Ok, but, actually, what is it?

Not sure.

3 Responses to What exactly is Google Wave?

  1. imma says:

    It’s basically a way of having online conversations
    Like email, but shinier in several ways & very different in some ways
    There’s a wave(~conversation) on a server somewhere & all the people involved can add & edit it

    let’s try to be clearer, i’m getting too many sentences there :
    ** Email is like a letter, wave is like a whiteboard everyone can reach at once. **

  2. crack says:

    “** Email is like a letter, wave is like a whiteboard everyone can reach at once. **”

    A whiteboard everyone can type on at once. I’m not sure how that is a good thing.

    I’m trying to withhold judgment until people I would actually have massive conversation threads with are on it. Right now there is basically one contact I interact with at all. I’m a wasted invite for beta purposes.

  3. Spencer says:

    My girlfriend and I have been planning a trip around Europe with it. In that way it’s a really useful ‘whiteboard’ thing.

    I put in suggestions, she can look at them, change them, put things on the map, plan what to see in each town.

    It feels like more of a brainstorming tool than an e-mail replacement to me so far, but I’m sure we’ll find new ways to work with it in future.

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