Science, Tech & Environment

Google makes ambitious play with Wave app


Screenshot of Google Wave app. (Image:

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Google is making an ambitious play with a new web application. They say their new tool, Google Wave, is what email might look like if it were invented today. With one tool, they're trying to create a single replacement for email, instant messaging and document sharing.

Real-time interaction appears to be central to the Wave app, as this description on Google's website details: "With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time."

And, the app allows for participation by multiple users.

Gina Trapani, editor of, thinks it's an ambitious project for Google.

"It's not just a Google product, it's a whole new protocol for communication," said Trapani. It is really a whole new reinvention of email. And it's completely open source -- any company can create a Wave client or a Wave server; it's not a Google-specific technology."

Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia University digital journalism professor thinks people are going to have to leave their old email habits behind.

"This whole idea of Google Wave is you can change real-time communications and make it a much more collaborative way to talk to other people and share ideas," said Sreenivasan. "It's something that will take time, but once it happens, I think people are going to get used to this new way of telling each other our stories and sharing a conversation."

The one-hour-and-twenty-minute-long tutorial video on Google Wave has been downloaded 20 million times, and they've invited 100,000 people to be first users of the application.

Trapani says Google's roll-out strategy has really created a lot of interest: "If you looked on Twitter or Facebook yesterday, people are just dying to get into Wave, they can't wait to see it. It's an incredible marketing campaign and it's also a smart iterative software launch approach."

Watch this abridged version of the Google Wave tutorial:

More about Google Wave here.

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