Anyone who thought Google might grow complacent in the face of their continued success wasn’t banking on the curveball they threw today. Stealing any thunder Microsoft might have managed to generate for Bing, day 2 of the Google I/O conference saw the announcement of a new collaborative communications platform, Wave. Designed by the development team behind Google Maps, Wave is designed to be an evolution of email and IM.
Wave allows groups to work together in the same web environment, throwing images, photos and videos into a shared conversation stream. The concept is essentially the same as a FriendFeed group, with the same realtime multimedia flow. However, while FriendFeed is geared up for threaded discussions similar to the bulletin boards of yore, Google Wave seems like it will be more suitable to an on-going teamworking environment. Interestingly, a ‘replay’ function is available, allowing the evolution of a conversation to be reviewed later.
Speaking to Michael Arrington, Lars Rasmussen from the development team explained that because it integrates email as well as a realtime workflow Wave allows “Synchronous and asynchronous (communication) in the same conversation. And you can switch back and forth, depending who is online at any one time”.
The potential here is huge. One market that will be likely to lap this up is journalists who could collaborate on the same story from multiple locations, all into the same stream. Wave-powered election night coverage, for example, could be highly effective. Group gaming is another area where Wave could be useful.