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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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High Tech Realm: Google Wave

By now, virtually anyone familiar with the Internet has grown weary of playing email tag. However, the frustration associated with those tasks will soon be washed away with Google Wave ,a heavily publicized service of the Internet giant which is intended to revolutionize the collaborative nature of the Web.

Although still currently at the invitation only stage, I’m mentioning Wave (wave.google.com) now as it is a very promising product worth looking forward to when it is open to the public, or more invitations are sent out. As Gina Trapani, founder of the popular technology/productivity blog Lifehacker.com described the service during her presentation at the packed auditorium of Manhattan’s Javits Center at the recent Web 2.0 Expo, Google Wave is what email would be if it were invented today. Focusing on the fact that email was created approximately 40 years ago, the much used technology is essentially the cavemen of the technological world.

Google wave stands apart from email because it is an environment where users create ‘waves’ ‘- documents in the program, which can be edited by users in real-time. Waves can feature photos, videos, attachments, text, and more, much like email. However, rather than bouncing copies between each user, people involved with the wave can all edit the document in real time and even replay the wave’s activities from start to its present state.

According to Gina, Google Wave works well with project management, photo sharing, and interactive content. In particular, she also made a point that it’s more for small groups rather massive projects.

In my test of Wave, I did a search for public waves and found a few interesting ones, such as one titled ‘Collaborative Writing Fiction Projects’ which was a massive group of users all contributing to different story topics. Despite the interesting concept, the large amount of users made the experience confusing and fairly difficult to see what was going on, although the replay feature helped to see the happenings.

If/when you begin to use Wave, note that for technical reasons, it’s better to use Chrome, Safari, Opera, or Firefox over Internet Explorer. Also, during my initial tests, I found Firefox experienced significant amounts of lag compared to Chrome, Safari and Opera. However, this issue might be resolved in the near future.

Wave is for more than document collaboration. As Google is planning to make Wave open source, there will be plenty of applications available for the program, similar to how Facebook has a wide array of applications.

For a much more detailed look into the features of Wave, have a look at Gina Trapani’s work The Complete Guide to Google Wave (completewaveguide.com), which is free to read online and a PDF version is available for purchase of $6. The many features of Wave can also be found by viewing the presentation from the Google Developer Conference at http://bit.ly/HzDVA (this is a shortened version of the YouTube link).

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