Imagine making e-mail slicker, faster and easier to use. Apparently, Google imagined that too. Today, Google announced Google Wave what will probably become the next new e-mail.
Wave is an ambitious new communication platform. It seeks to replace many of the web functions we use everyday; email, instant messaging, blogs, wiki's, and more. Watching the UTube video, even I understood it and I think it might actually succeed. Wave is the brainchild of two brothers, Lars and Jens Rasmussen, that previously brought us what we know today as Google Maps.
Everyone uses email and instant messaging on the web now, but imagine if you could tie those two forms of communication together and add a load of functionality on top of it. At its most fundamental form, that’s essentially what Wave is. While you are e-mailing, you can invite someone in to response, close it and come back to it. You can invite a third person it. A lot of it is click and drag.
Wave features a left-hand sidebar “Navigation” and a list of your contacts, from Google Contacts, below that. But the main part of the screen is your Wave inbox. This looks similar to what your Gmail inbox looks like except it feature the faces of your friends who are involved in each thread. There are also number indicators signifying if there is new content in that thread. This is an important distinction from Gmail — it isn’t just about new messages, there can be any kind of new content in these waves.
Clicking on any of the wave threads will open another pane to the right of the inbox that shows that wave in its entirety. Let’s say one wave is a message from a friend and you want to reply to it. If they’re not currently online, you can do it below their message just as you may in Gmail. Except there’s no bulky new message creator to pop open, you simply start typing below your friend’s message. But perhaps you want to respond to a particular part of their message — well you can do that too simply by starting to type below the part you’re replying to.
Are you following me here, camera guy?
It’s a really interesting concept, one that you really do need to see in action. It’s ambitious as hell — which we love — but that also leaves it open to the possibility of it falling on its face. But that’s how great products are born. And the potential reward is huge if Google has its way as the ringleader of the complete transition to our digital lives on the web.