Google WaveFabian Piau | Wednesday August 19th, 2009 - 04:16 PM
Google Wave project is not existing anymore. Google has decided to give the project to the Apache community. The project is now Apache Wave.
Google Wave is an HTML application built with Google Web Toolkit (GWT), a framework to program in Java using AJAX and very nice-looking web 2.0 effects. Click on the logo below to know more about this framework.
Like most of Google applications, you only need your browser to use Google Wave.
In few words, Google Wave is a new (the next?) mean of communication and collaboration tool. All documents in Google Wave are called waves. When you chat, write an email, an article… this is a “wave”. In my point of view, I don’t like very much this name because it can be confusing with the audio format.
The following is the list of the features included (at the moment)
- Documents sharing (text, media, photo, presentation, video, etc.). This is the possibility that several persons edit the same document in the same time. Innovation from Wave is that all the modifications are visible immediately to all participants.
- Wiki. Embedded comments, use of colored markups to see changes that others have made…
- The “Playback” feature. The possibility to go back to an older state of the Wave document. People using Google Docs already know this feature, but with Wave, you can use a slider bar to see the Wave history.
- Instant Messaging support (avatars, contacts management, smileys…). I mention it before for wiki: the live typing. No more “Mr. X is typing a message…” (note that you have the possibility to deactivate this feature simply by using a checkbox).
- A participant can rejoin a Wave and have access to the old messages he has missed.
- A private reply feature. If you don’t want your reply be avaible to all participants of the Wave, if you want to restrict the access to a Wave file, a comment, etc.
- Adding, removing a participant by drag-and-drop.
- Email client. An email become a Wave. Maybe one day, you will say “Hey, did you read my Wave?”, it sounds a little bit weird, doesn’t it?
- Inteligent spell checker. It already exists, but here, the spell checker analyzes your sentences by using the google search database.
- Multi-language support (e.g. arabic and chinese are supported)
- Links and videos detection (the “linky” feature). It replaces your text by a link, an embedded video, a picture…
- Waves embedding. For example, the “bloggy” robot enables you to embed a Wave in a blog.
- Wave structure and organization. Files & folders organization, drag-and-drop feature, searching tool (regular expression is possible), link to other Waves…
- Google Wave is compatible with the latest mobile phones (Android, iPhone).
Extensions is one of the most important feature (and that’s why I have previously written “at the moment”).
Thus, you can extend the functionalities of Wave. To add a new extension, you only need to click on the “install” button. This is similar to the Firefox extensions but without needed to restart the software (actually, we talk about the browser).
Examples of existing extensions (created by Google):
- Google web search plugin: add the possibility to search on Google search engine within Google Wave. You can add a link, a photo, a video from the search results page into your Wave document very quickly.
- Yes/no gadget: participants can vote about something (yes, no or maybe).
- Games (Sudoku, Chess): play with famous games. Note that the playback feature is available and you can review the whole game if you want.
- Google Map extension: if you write a city name, it is possible to insert a (dynamic) map which points at the good location.
- Polly the pollster: this extension enables you to create your own polls. Result charts are updated in real-time (Google Chart API).
- Twitter extension: you can create a “twave” (= a wave of twitters). Within Wave, you can manage your tweets, and your twitter space will be updated.
- Issues tracker extension: you can manage the bugs (of a computing project) within Wave. Can be useful for developers.
- Rosy robot: this extension (my favorite!) enables you to translate your message while typing it. For example, you have sent the message “Hello world” to a french friend. The receiver can read “Hello world” but also “Bonjour tout le monde” from Rosy. When the receiver replies (in french), you get the answer in french (of course) but also in english thanks to Rosy. The fact that the translation is done in “live typing” is very impressive!! With Rosy, it is possible to communicate with people who do not speak your langage. Rosy is available in many languages.
Google Wave is currently in private testing (around 5 000 very lucky testers). It will be in public testing around october of this year (around 100 000 lucky testers). The first public release will normally be available at the end of the year. That would be cool to… wish “Happy New Year!” with Wave.
Last but not least, Google Wave will be open-source. Programmers around the world will be able to create new extensions like a facebook integration, drawing tools, and so forth.
Some screenshots from Google (because I am not a lucky tester)
Here is the official website: https://github.com/apache/incubator-wave.
Finally, you can watch the official video presentation of Wave (May, 28th 2009 in San Francisco). Approximately 80 minutes in length with live demos.