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The Future of Online Communication: Google Wave
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The first day of the Google I/O 2009 conference in San Francisco was all about HTML 5 and the future of the Internet. The second day though was about the future of communication, or at least Google's take on it. The project is called Google Wave and it aims to bring existing technologies together and then add a bunch of new features on top of them.


The premise of Google Wave is to take email and instant messaging, combine them and bring them to this day and age. Its creators, Lars and Jens Rasmussen and Stepahnie Hannon, developed it at the Google offices in Sydney, Australia, and it took them two years to get to this stage.

They believe that, while email and instant messaging are very popular and useful today, because they were created a long time ago and were meant to mimic real-world communication, they are getting stale. The web has evolved so much since then but these technologies remained basically unchanged. As Lars Rasmussen puts it, “Wave is what email would look like if it were invented today.”

Jens Rasmussen first had the idea in 2004. He shared it with his brother Lars but it was put on hold as they were busy working on developing Google Maps. It took them two years to finish it but in 2007 the two brothers left the Maps team and started a new project codenamed 'Walkabout'. The idea was to take all of the ways people communicated online and bring them together. This may seem daunting at first since most of them don't seem that compatible. They worked on the idea with a small team in the Sydney office and now they are ready to show it to the world or rather to the developers at the Google I/O conference.

And the developers and the journalists attending loved it. Bringing together email, instant messaging, documents and picture sharing, blogs, wikis, Facebook and Twitter into one service that is easy and intuitive to understand and use almost sounds impossible but Google Wave has done it. A detailed description of how exactly Google Wave works is available here and it's easy too see why everyone at the conference was so impressed and excited about the new technology and the possibilities it offers. Unfortunately the rest of us will have to wait at least a few months because Google Wave is in an early stage and for now it is available only for developers.
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