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Google Wave Will Invite Volunteers To Begin Preview

Google Wave Will Invite Volunteers To Begin Preview
By Mark Long

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Google will begin inviting volunteers to a preview test of Google Wave, which enables individuals to communicate and work together with richly formatted elements. Google Wave users can instantly see what others are typing. Google also has released Chrome Frame to fix Web technology problems in Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8.
 


Google is poised to unleash a wider preview of its fledgling Google Wave, which produces collaborative "waves" of online information that are equal parts conversation and documents. On Wednesday Google will begin sending out Wave preview invitations to individuals who have signed up to provide feedback.

Wave's preview release will be hosted on the platform's own dedicated Web site rather than in the separate "sandbox" developers have been using since the platform's release to developers in May, according to Google Wave Project Manager Dan Peterson.

"In addition to the developers already using Wave, we will invite groups of users from the hundreds of thousands who offered to help report bugs when they signed up," Peterson said. "And we plan to involve about 100,000 users."

Collaboration and Communication

The goal of Google Wave, which is based on the HTML5 standard, is to enable individuals to communicate and work together while using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, gadgets and other software elements. To dramatically speed up the collaborative efforts, each wave is presented to participants as a "tree structure of messages," within which conventional e-mail and IM capabilities are merged and delivered on a keystroke-by-keystroke basis, said Google Wave creator Lars Rasmussen.

"Here's how it works: In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it" and "everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets and even feeds from other sources on the Web," Rasmussen said. "They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly."

Users see nearly instantly what their fellow collaborators are typing in the wave. This makes the collaboration process -- which Rasmussen calls "concurrent rich-text editing" -- equally well suited for quick messages and persistent content. "It allows for both collaboration and communication," Rasmussen said.

Google also made waves last week through its release of Chrome Frame. The new plug-in enables Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 to handle a variety of open Web technologies, such as a faster JavaScript engine, support for HTML5's offline capabilities and canvas, and modern CSS layouts.

"When we extend our Google Wave preview," Rasmussen said, "we will encourage users of Internet Explorer to install Google Chrome Frame."

Chrome Frame

Compared with other browsers, the JavaScript performance of IE is many times slower and HTML5 support is still far behind, Rasmussen said. "Likewise, the many different versions of IE still in use -- each with its own set of CSS quirks and layout limitations -- further complicate building rich Web applications," he said. (continued...)

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