Google Wave is 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.
A wave is equal parts conversation and document
. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
A wave is shared
. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.
A wave is live.
With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.
Here's how it works: In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. It's concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content — it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use "playback" to rewind the wave and see how it evolved.
There are tons of ways to use Google Wave--here is a suggestion for genealogy research:
~~Collaboratively work in real time to draft content, discuss and solicit feedback all in one place rather than sending email attachments and creating multiple copies that get out of sync.
~~Bring lots of people into a wave to brainstorm - live concurrent editing makes the quantity of ideas grow quickly! It is easy to add rich content like videos, images, URLs or even links to other waves. Discuss and then work together to distill down to the good ideas.
If you'd like to be notified when google launches Google Wave as a public product, you can sign up at http://wave.google.com/
. There isn't a specific timeframe for public release, but they're planning to continue working on Google Wave for a number of months more as a developer preview. Google are excited to see what feedback they get from early tinkerers, and they'll undoubtedly make lots of changes to the Google Wave product, platform, and protocol as they go.