Have you received your Google Wave invitation yet? Only 100,000 were originally issued a month ago, and buying one on eBay only ensures that you get bumped further to the front of the waiting line. What's remarkable is that, though everyone wants it, few can explain what exactly it is. It's that radical.
The best definition we've heard is that it's what email would be if it were invented today, and not 40 years ago.
For four decades, email has been a linear conversation -- one person talking to one or many. And once those participants start copying and forwarding and replying, the conversation can quickly become a mess, with all the wrong people getting dragged into it, and all the necessary people getting left out of critical parts of it, and missing what they need to know.
(Think of how cluttered your emailbox gets with office messages that consist of "Thanks!" being CCed to 47 people.)
A "wave," on the other hand, is a collaborative real-time conversation that takes advantage of all the latest Web developments, including social-media tools and multimedia, so that rather than passing the conversation around, people join and leave the central conversation, and bring (drag-and-drop and embed, rather than attach) what they need with them (e.g. documents, images, videos).
Participants can IM in real time, so that others can actually see what you're writing as you type it (no need to click "Send"). Latecomers can "play back" the conversation to see how it has developed, and what they've missed.
But that's a simplistic explanation that only scratches the surface, so watch Google's own introductory video for developers. It runs only 80 minutes:
Too overwhelming? Try the 8-minute version:
Still confused? So are a lot of other people, as evidenced by this hilarious Website that compares Google Wave to every other difficult to comprehend phenomenon: "Easier to Understand Than Wave."
Samuel L. Jackson to the rescue! Google Wave Cinema presents 'Pulp Wave Fiction,' in which we get to witness the dialogue from a notorious movie scene cleverly evolve as a Google wave:
And now, two high-profile techies, Gina Trapani and Adam Pash, have collaborated on The Complete Guide to Google Wave, an easy-to-read eight-chapter Wiki manual which you can enjoy for free on the Web. "Because Wave is such a new product that's evolving quickly, this guidebook is a work in progress that will update in concert with Wave as it grows and changes."
We envision Wave as a potentially powerful tool for video collaboration -- multiple shooters in remote locales can easily use it to strategize and plan a complex undertaking, and even to upload, view and edit footage for their joint project.
Ready to ride the Wave? You may have to wait your turn, as invitations are still rolling out, but why not apply for yours now? Just fill out the simple form here.
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