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