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.
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.