Mashable has an article up explaining 5 Ways Google Wave Could Change the Web. Wave is a Real Time Collaborative Platform from Google that will arrive for a limited number of users on September 30th. It is an extendable, open source product with a number of collaborative and productivity features that programms can add to other applications. There will be a Wave start page, rather like a beefed up email screen or control panel. Also, you will be able to see pieces of Wave enabled code on other pages and programs. Of course some of the first of these nifty features will be seen in GMail and the other Google Apps, but they can be added to other applications as well, so ideas can flow in "waves" throughout the web, all linked and tagged together.
Some of the nifty features:
- Wiki-like group editing
- Threaded conversations not limited to being in the same application.
- Playback feature lets you get caught up on what people were talking about before you got involved.
- Extensible "gadgets" and "robots" are two types of embedding tools. Gadgets being sort of like Facebook apps or widgets, and robots being sort of like agents or automated processes that can communicate with people.
I think that Google Wave does have a lot of potential and points to a more open and universal way to add collaborative features to various web enabled applications. Because Wave has an open source API, programmers and site owners can add Wave features to all sorts of web pages, application, email, really anything. Adding discussion threading, subject tagging, location based information, and all sorts of meta data to our various online stuff has the potential to really link it all together.
Trying to think about what these features can do can in the real world can be a little confusing. Because its not implemented with our "stuff" yet, we have to imagine use cases. The Mashable article is a good start to get the mind going on how businesses and individuals will use the features in Wave to add collaborative and CMS features to... well... whatever they want to add it to.
I have to say though... I have been working with Collaborative Computing since the days of Lotus Notes R3, and if there is one thing I have learned it is that people are fickle about whizbang applications. The "killer app" is a had thing to predict. I have seen many wonderful ideas just not take off, especially in the business world. So I am very interested to see what Wave enabled features programmers bring us, and what practical applications take off with the crowd.