How long have we been using email? For most of us it's been several years now. I think I got my first email address around 1993. But email was around a long time before that. Ray Tomlinson is widely credited with inventing it in 1972. So yeah, it's been a while.
Isn't it high time, then, that we moved on to something better? Something that's a little more efficient and more secure or not as prone to spam?
Enter Google Wave. Google Wave is a real-time communications platform. It sort of functions like email, and chat, and a wiki, and a file sharing system, and a ton of other things all wrapped up into one package.
Here is a scenario you might find familiar. You're emailing back and forth with another party, and you soon discover that the other person is actually responding to you in real time. When this happens in a Wave, the messages automatically becomes a chat. Or how about this, if a coworker sends you notes on a project with several bullet points in it and you want to respond to just one of the points, in a Wave you can just highlight the one thing you need to respond to and hit reply and your reply appears just below the point that you are responding to. What happens is that a Wave becomes more than an exchange as in email, it's a conversation that happens on a single document.
Okay, maybe it's nearly impossible to really explain how revolutionary this is without showing it to you. Here is the demo that Google did at the Google I/O conference about a week ago. This is the ten minute abridged version.
There is a longer version of the video (it's over an hour long) that you can see here.
Google is making this tool open source, which means that anyone can get the source code and improve upon it and use it for their own needs for free. Google is not specific about the exact date of the rollout of wave, they're only saying "later this year."