Google Wave is Incredible

I occasionally branch away from GIS topics on this blog to talk about stuff I think is cool. By occasionally I mean all the time, with this post instant being a likely candidate. Which brings me to the recent announcement of Google Wave. In a nutshell, Google Wave is an entirely new way to think about collaborative technology.

When you think about collaborative technology, you think about a lot of different moving pieces, depending on what you want to do. For conversational interactions, things like the telephone, email, IM, etc. work well. For collaborative interactions, things like wikis work well. Google Wave mashes these things up and comes out with something that is an amalgamation, and in some ways an improvement, over all of them.

I really can’t describe it well, so take a look:

It can do email, IM, document sharing with wiki-like editing, drag-drop uploads and sharing…almost anything you can think of. It’s XMPP based (in this case polling really would suck) and uses HTML 5 - much like Mozilla’s Bespin, you can see what the other user is doing as they do it. You’ll be able to embed waves directly into web sites. And it’s not only extensible for developers, they’re also planning on releasing it as open source. Impressed yet?

The plan is to release Wave later this year, although developers can play with the Wave API’s now.

There’s been some talk about HTML5 vs RIA tech like Flash and Silverlight for a while now (I’ve done some of it myself), and seeing this has started people talking again. I think HTML5 is going to marginalize things like Flash and Silverlight to DRM-specific applications, and it likely won’t be terribly far off. Even Microsoft adopted a few HTML5 specs in IE 8.

There was also a really good post here from the Zoho folks titled Microsoft Silverlight vs Google Wave: Why Karma Matters. It’s only peripherally related to the tech behind Wave, but I thought it was an interesting piece nonetheless and articulates a sentiment I share.