Thanks to a small amount of pleading with an ex-colleague, my geekery dreams came true this morning when I opened up my inbox and discovered an invite to Google Wave.
For those not familiar, in short, Google Wave is a new service which combines the techy goodness of email, IM and wiki. It allows users to create collaborative documents online which can be added to and amended, in real time, by others. All participants in each Wave (think of it like a group of people on an email list) can collaborate, edit, change and add to the Wave, and they can see exactly what other people are doing on the Wave, as they do it. A playback feature allows participants to view the changes in the exact order that they occurred over the course of the Wave to view how it has changed over time. All very handy. On top of this, Google is also integrating tons of useful gadgets that will add new mechanics, services and magic to the Wave, such as a real time translation service, excellent for communicating with people who may not speak the same first language as you.
The downside? Hardly anyone I know has a Google Wave invite just now. Access is still by invite only, presumably as Google is still fine tuning (it does seem a tiny bit buggy and there appears to be a small and vaguely irksome time lapse on typing/displaying of text) so trying it out and testing its full potential is, at the moment, somewhat limited. However, I can see how it can become quickly addictive, waiting and watching as other participants in your Wave type, as well as incredibly useful for both business and personal uses. Need to be able to work on something with people in different locations (at home, different offices, clients, contractors and so on)? google Wave is perfect. Arranging a get together with a group of friends scattered across the country (or even world)? Google Wave is perfect. I could go on…
Surely Microsoft is quaking in its shiny little boots at the launch of Google Wave – I see it as a far superior and advanced successor to Outlook – though I would imagine that Microsoft (and any other key email platform for that matter) will either be launching their own collaborative email mechanic in the not-too-distant future, or else planning to integrate with Google Wave in one way or another. Only time will tell.
For now, beg, borrow or steal yourself a Google Wave invite and have a play!
And here ends my slight rant/love affair with Google Wave.