This morning, the dear Kartooner invited me to Google Wave (and before you flood any of us with invite requests: at the moment there aren’t any invites to go around!), so I’ve finally had a chance to play around with the new toy. I think I finally get what it is. It’s taken me a while to understand and so as a public service, I’ll try and explain it here in a neatly readable bulletted list.
- Google Wave is a reinvention of email.
- Instead of clicking “Compose” in your email app, you click “New Wave”.
- Instead of adding email addresses for the people you want to send email to, you drag Google Wave contacts into the recipient field.
- Instead of clicking “Send Email”, your wave has already been sent by the moment you added recipients.
- The result is an already-sent-email which everyone can edit in realtime, which renders replies moot.
So that’s the core tenet of what Google is, and incidentally this has a bunch of neat side-effects:
- It makes sense to keep a wave for later reference, since it’s more “alive” than a sent email.
- It’s kinda like a group chat as well as an email, since it’s live-editable by the recipients.
- It’s also a Google Docs-like document editor, since you could use it co-author a document with your fellow wavers.
- It’s also a todo list or note archiver, since you can create waves with no recipients.
- It’s also a multiplayer game since you can add all sorts of gadgets to your multi-user waves, such as Sudoku.
- It’s also an RSS reader of sorts, since a Wave can be any sort of blogpost, and the Wave API will no doubt allow you to post waves from outside the interface.
To the best of my ability, this is what I think Google Wave is. Awesome.