Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Google Wave

Google is poised to change the Internet again, and it will revolutionize collaborative communication and sharing. The way that Google will accomplish this revolution is through a tool called Google Wave, created by Lars and Jens Rasmussen, the creators of Google Maps. Google Wave was built using the Google Web Toolkit.

If you haven't heard about Google Wave yet, do yourself a favor and go to to watch the informational video that was given at the Google I/O developer's conference.

A short description of Google Wave would be that it is a re-visioning of communication on the Internet to accommodate what technology and the Internet is capable of doing. Thinking in terms of electronic mail as an improvement on snail mail, Google wave is an improvement and combination of email, instant messaging, text messaging, and chat rooms like IRC. One Google developer describes it as "email on crack", which I would assume is a good thing.

The protocol will be an open protocol, and it will be natively multi-platform, including Linux geeks like me and developers on the ground floor of the development of this technology. Google has been very open about allowing developers to create using the platform and the surrounding APIs. In addition to the online collaboration, Google is also hosting in-person events, such as the upcoming Google hackathon which is occurring at 3PM on Friday, August 21st in Madison in cooperation with Madison Nonprofit Day.

If you don't yet appreciate the magnitude of this development, consider this: Google Wave will deploy not only on PCs, Macs, and Linux machines, but it will also come with a client for Android Phones and Iphones. If you had to choose between text messaging five of your friends about going out to a movie or starting one collaborative Google Wave to communicate with all of your friends at the same time from your phone, what tool would you choose?

Another cool thing about Google Wave: The name of the technology is a nod to Joss Whedon, as in the Firefly-verse (the fictional universe that is the setting for Firefly and Serenity) a wave is a real-time transmission of audio, video, or text. I am a big fan of Joss Whedon's works, and it's great that such a wonderful technology named after a fictional technology in one of his works.

Keep your eyes peeled, everyone. This launch will be very interesting to see unfold, as the applications are nearly endless, and the vast majority of this project will be open source to allow developers to innovate and create new uses for Google Wave as they see fit. Google really knows how to attract and motivate developers, and that bodes well for the future of this project.