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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Top 6 Game-Changing Features of Google Wave

Google Wave LogoWithout a doubt, the product that has the entire web buzzing right now is Google Wave (Google Wave reviews), the search giant’s newly announced communication platform. Earlier this week, we brought you detailed information on the new Google (Google reviews) product in our article Google Wave: A Complete Guide, but now we want to explore exactly why everyone is so excited about Google Wave.

You’ve probably heard people talk about Google Wave being a game-changer, a disruptive product, or maybe even as an email killer. But while keywords and phrases like these grab people’s attention, they don’t explain why or how Google Wave could be a paradigm-shifter. In this article, we explore these questions by highlighting some of Google Wave’s most unique and promising features. By exploring these features, we can better understand the potential of this new technology.

1. Wiki-style functionality

The feature: While Google Wave works a lot like email or IM, there is a huge difference: you can edit not only your messages, but the messages of anybody within your wave. You can reply to messages within a conversation string and reorganize conversations.

Why it’s game-changing: There was a perfect example of how this changes communication during Google’s demo of the product. A group of people are trying to plan a group dinner, and want to see who can come or not. In email, you have a string of emails with yes or no, which can get messy.

In Wave, you can edit the original message with a section with who can or cannot go. Replies can be made within a conversation string, rather than at the end, making conversations a great deal easier to track.

2. Wave Extensions

The feature: Wave extensions are 3rd-party improvements or applications within Google Wave. There are two types: gadgets and robots. Gadgets are just like Facebook (Facebook reviews) applications, so you can run an app like an online game or a project management tool from within Wave. Robots are smart, automated conversation participants. They can detect keywords and respond, bring in outside information from services like Twitter (Twitter reviews), and more.

Why it’s game-changing: It’s game-changing just as the Facebook platform or the Twitter application boom has been paradigm-shifting for both companies. Imagine only needing to have Google Wave open to manage your Facebook, Twitter, project management, email, and even your video games. You can make Google Wave your all-in-one communication tool.

3. Drag-and-drop file uploads

The feature: In email, you have to search for files, and then attach them before sending. Then you need to open them up when you actually receive the email. Google Wave ignores that entire process by allowing users to drag files from the desktop and dropping them. Anyone can then see the files as they’re being uploaded. Images are shown in an album format, music can be played, and docs can be quickly shared

Why it’s game-changing: Drag-and-drop file uploads makes Google Wave not only a communication platform, but a useful project management system. Companies could use Google Wave as their communication and file-sharing platform. Combined with Wave Extensions, you could build an entire project management platform and time management system better than anything on the market.

4. Wave Embeds

Google Wave Embeds Image

The feature: Wave Embeds is just like what it says - you can embed any wave onto a website. Embeds can be customized and used for a multitude of purposes.

Why it’s game-changing: Embedding is not only an easy way to share conversations with millions of people, but is in fact a way to replace a lot of forms of communication. Instead of a chatroom, you can add a Wave on your company’s website and do customer service through it. Instead of static comments, imagine real-time conversations via Waves. Conversations are easily shared with embeds.

5. Playback

The feature: If you’re added to an email conversation late into the game, it can be a pain to parse all of the back-and-forth within an email conversation. With Wave’s playback feature, you can actually see how the entire conversation developed from the start, making it incredibly easy to catch up on conversations.

Why it’s game-changing: Playback clarifies any conversation and makes it simple to get anyone up-to-speed. Instead of “check your email,” it will become “just playback the wave” and you will have all the information that you need. You could get someone up-to-speed within minutes, rather than hours.

6. Open-source

Google wave Image

The feature: Google Wave is not only extendable, but is an open-source project. This means two big things. First, developers can build their own version of Google Wave. Second, Google Wave can be hosted on your own server - just like an Exchange email server.

Why it’s game-changing: You may not think of open-source as a feature, but this may be the most important aspect of Google Wave. Open-source code fosters innovation by allowing developers to improve and correct code. Developers have the freedom to create a Wave server for their company or to create a branded version of Wave.

Open-source is central to Google’s strategy to foster quick adoption. And if people start using or even switching over to Google Wave, then it could very well be the game-changing communication tool that everyone has been waiting for.