Google () promised to deliver something spectacular on the second day of the Google I/O conference, and they did not disappoint. Google has just announced Google Wave (), a new in-browser communication and collaboration tool that is already being hailed by some as the next evolution of email. Yes, Google Wave is potentially that disruptive.
Created by two of the guys behind Google Maps () with a small team in Sydney, the concept behind Google Wave is to “unify” communication on the web. It’s a hybrid of email, web chat, IM, and project management software. It features the ability to replay conversations because it records the entire sequence of communication, character by character. Because of this, discussions are also live in Google Wave: you will see your friends type character-by-character.
The features don’t stop there, either. Google Wave also supports the ability to drag attachments from your desktop into Google Wave. It loads that file and sends it immediately to anyone in the conversation. It’s also embeddable, so you can embed Google Wave conversations on any blog.
As you can see, it looks very similar to a Gmail () inbox, except it’s more focused on your contacts, whose faces you can see in your contacts sidebar on the left. As for conversations, well, it’s a bit different than anything we’ve seen before. You can reply and add your thoughts anywhere within a message. Communication within Google Wave is completely shared.
The key to it all is the faster line of communication. Attaching documents, like you do in email, is unnecessary in Google Wave. Real-time conversations and collaboration make it an ideal tool for business teams as well. Imagine an entire office having Google Wave open to quickly share and receive files. It combines some of people’s favorite aspects of many different web communication tools.
You’re going to have to wait a while though: Google Wave will not be available to the public until later this year. Right now it’s only available to a select group of developers, who will be able to create their own Wave servers. It’s also an open-source project with a lot of API integrations, so we can expect a lot of user-driven innovations and extensions for the platform as well.