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					29 May 2009

By: Lucian Parfeni, Web News Editor

Google Wave Explained
Details on how Google Wave looks and works
Google Wave was revealed earlier today, on day two of the Google I/O Developer Conference in San Francisco, to wide appreciation, as everyone loved it upon seeing its potential. Bringing together the best features of all the forms of communication available today, like email, chat, Twitter and Facebook, into one unified service does sound promising, but what's more interesting is how exactly it works. For now it's just an early preview but the basics are there. The application's interface is split into three main columns. The first one on the left has a navigation menu and a list of contacts below that. The second one, the Wave inbox, is the most important. It's similar to your Gmail inbox but the list of messages doesn't represent just email, they're 'waves' that can be any kind of content. Selecting one of the waves opens it in the third column, which shows the entire wave. For example if it is a wave with a conversation with a friend you will see what has been said so far and you can respond to it. If your friend is offline the message will be stored in the wave but more like an offline message in an instant messenger rather than like an email. You just start typing below the part of the message you want to respond to, and it doesn't have to be at the end. But this isn't just a two-way conversation, as you can add other friends to the wave simply by dragging their picture from the contacts box to the wave. However, adding someone at a point where the wave has already progressed a bit can be confusing so Google made available a playback feature, which will enable the newly arrived friend to see the wave as it grew from the beginning. Of course, if the users in the wave are online at the same time they can talk in real time just like on an instant messenger. And the conversation is more immediate as your partner will see the words as you are typing them without having to press send. If you're not comfortable with this you can select a 'draft' mode, which will behave just like regular instant messaging. You can also send a private message to someone in the wave and only he or she will be able to see it but it will still be in the context of the wave. There is also an impressive spell checker that not only looks for the words in a dictionary but actually checks the context of the sentence. However, replacing email and chat is just one of Wave's possible uses. Users can work together editing content just like in a wiki and they have a lot of features at hand to make the process of real-time collaboration easier than it currently is. They can also post to Blogger from within the wave and all the comments to that post will show up in the wave too. Furthermore, users can put an entire wave online making it available to the public. If Google delivers on its promises, and from the looks of it it might, this could potentially transform the way we communicate, share and interact online. Wave as a platform has some great possibilities and even its creators haven't foreseen every way it could be used. You can watch the whole demo at the keynote presentation below.

Wave logo Google

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