Google Wave is tipped to be the “next generation” of Internet communication and was first announced by Google in May this year. The name was inspired by the Firefly television series in which a Wave is an electronic communication (often consisting of a video call or video message). Google Wave will be launched to a select group of people at the end of this month and soon after that to the internet population.

In traditional email, you send a message to one or more recipients which consists of a message and possibly attached. The recipient can then reply to the sender or reply to all. Google’s Gmail, built on this with the threading of conversations, so replies to emails are joined together in one thread. This can be confusing at first but is really useful once you get the hang of it.

Google Wave is the next innovation on this. Instead of having of a message (eg email) as a standalone piece of information you have a Wave which is an entire conversation containing many forms of media between 2 or more people.

Here’s how it works: In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. You see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content — it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use “playback” to rewind the wave and see how it evolved.

So that makes it an email, document, forum, wiki, chat, video library, image library, podcast, social network and collabation system all in one.

An example of google wave

An example of google wave

Terminology that is currently used is;

Wave is a group of wavelets, consisting of one or more participants. A wave is a living thing, with participants communicating and modifying the wave in real time.

Wavelet is a part of wave, a threaded conversation that is spawned from a wave (including the initial conversation). Wavelets serve as the container for one or more messages, known as blips. The wavelet is the basic unit of access control for data in the wave. All participants on a wavelet have full read/write access to all of the content within the wavelet.

During the lifetime of a wave, you may spawn private conversations, which become separate wavelets, but are bundled together within the same “wave.” Since events occur at the wavelet level or below, the context of an event is restricted to a single wavelet.

Blip is the basic unit of conversation and consists of a single messages which appears on a wavelet. Blips may either be drafts or published (by clicking “Done” within the Wave client).

Below is the 1hr20min video of the announcement of Google Wave in May this year.

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3 Responses to What is Google Wave?

  1. Bill says:

    Looking forward to giving wave a test run. As well as a collaboration tool, I think it’ll actually open up new business opportunities online – It’ll be interesting to see how it implements plugins, but also marketplaces (like the iPhone app store) and other trading opportunities.

  2. Akshay says:

    Google Wave is going to bring about a radical change in the way people and corporations communicate with and amongst each other.

    Contextualised communication and real-time collaboration is an idea for the Next Big Thing in the internet playfield. The inefficiency of regular email and the dependence on various disparate tools for disparate needs such as IM, social networking, video conferencing, file sharing, etc was bound to get cumbersome sooner or later.

    Once the users get used to the new Wave and Wave-like platforms(e.g. Colayer), there will be an end to discrete communication tools. Or rather, an amalgamation of many into one.

    Google Wave will actually be released to the public(in a completed form) sometime next year. If you don”t want to wait till then to see what this new technology has to offer, visit the Virtual Reception at

  3. SmallBusinessInsurance says:

    Great blog! Got a lot information and advice from all the blog posts in each and every blog.

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