I have started exploring Google Wave, and already see potential uses for it in the inherently collaborative project world in which I spend my working life. Many of the tools on which I, my colleagues, our clients and our project teams rely simply aren't doing the job sufficiently - particularly the all too pervasive practise of emailing documents around for review, comment and editing.
Google Wave was originally pitched when announced by Google earlier this year as a replacement for email, but that is quite misleading.
Lifehacker's explanation, from their "Complete Guide to Google Wave" is closer: "Google Wave is a new online communications tool that enables groups of people to edit and discuss documents simultaneously on the web. The Google Wave team says Wave is 'what email would look like if it were invented today.' However, because Wave is mostly a document collaboration tool, the oversimplified email metaphor can mislead new users. The initial Wave experience can feel chaotic and confusing, but use cases for Wave abound. Come on in and meet Wave."
If you would like to read more, check out these resources:
- Lifehacker’s "The Complete Guide to Google Wave" published yesterday is excellent;
- Google's own explanation of Wave: including a video of the launch/preview at the Google Developer conference earlier this year (the first 20 minutes is the key content but watch the full 1:20 if you’re really interested);
- the Wikipedia article is good (eg “Waves, described by Google as ‘equal parts conversation and document’, are hosted XML documents that allow seamless and low latency concurrent modifications”).