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Google Wave is coming …

I don’t normally just blog technologies, but this is so incredible you have to see it, if you haven’t already. If you want to see the future of both email and social networks, check out Google Wave. It’s described as:

… a product that helps users communicate and collaborate on the web. A “wave” is equal parts conversation and document, where users can almost instantly communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more. Google Wave is also a platform with a rich set of open APIs that allow developers to embed waves in other web services and to build extensions that work inside waves.

In the video from Google IO that I embed below, it’s described as ‘email if it would have been invented now’ instead of 50 years ago. It’s hard to put the experience into words: it’s like threaded email, a bulletin board or forum, and social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. Although it is only in developer preview, there are several APIs and an open-source protocol to facilitate Wave servers and clients not necessarily run by Google itself.

The only downside: Google is concentrating on adding sandbox accounts to the developer preview mostly for the people who were lucky enough to be at Google IO, which is a pity. Apart from the general site and the Google Code site linked above, there is also a blog and a twitter account (not sure if this last one is official but it looks like it is, not other dodgy links or anything). Update: also here’s the draft protocol specification, the protocol mailing list and the API mailing list.

Anyway I think it’s a big, big, huge, game-changer in all sorts of internet and web-enabled interface areas (not just email + bbs + social media, it does things like wiki, version control, document production, bug tracking, concurrent editing, etc). Maybe even remote pair programming with real-time collaboration. It’s the sort of thing that could kill MS Office, not just email or social networks.. It’s also been built with Google Web Toolkit and runs on devices like the iPhone through the browser. No iPhone app necessary.

Video embedded below; it’s very long (1hr 20min) but worth it.