The Google Wave that is.
In late May, on the Official Google Blog, Google announced that Google Wave was available to developers to tinker with and that you could sign up for an e-mail alert for Wave’s public launch later this year. (According to TechCrunch, the first 100,000 invites go out on September 30th.)
So, let me explain, in simple terms a little bit about what Google Wave is. It’s about conversation.
There are three key technologies in Google Wave that will make this communication tool more collaborative and efficient than e-mail of the past:
- Live collaborative editing means that you see the people in the conversation typing in real-time. (Think of Skype, SMS or other chat programs where you wait for the person to hit enter before you see what they have written.) By the way, this can be with more than one person at a time. So if there are six people in the Wave, you can see anyone who is typing in the conversation. They can also send you a private message.
- Natural Language Tools enable you to focus on what you are typing and not worry about any mistakes you might type. Google’s philosophy behind this new technology is that you should be able to type about 5% faster. Google looks at millions of web pages to see statistically how people use language in practice. This works much different than the red and green squiggly lines in a word processing program. Since Wave is web hosted, it doesn’t matter whether you are on your Smart Phone, laptop or desktop, you will receive these recommendations for grammar and spelling. These language tools will continue improving as we all continue using the web.
- Embedding means that you can get the code (html) for your Wave and put it on your website, wiki or blog. You can also add gadgets to your Wave as you would to your iGoogle page.
So, here’s the big question? What are the implications for educators and students?
Don’t let the technical stuff behind Google Wave get you. This is going to be cool. Though I don’t think that it is going to be added to Google Apps Education Edition anytime soon, I do think that Google Wave may just be the answer for those educators that get e-mail, but don’t quite get Google Docs yet.
This mashup of e-mail, IM, pictures, video, maps, maybe a little bit of a Twitter-like app will allow administrators, teachers, parents, even some students to be better communicate with each other. The conversation will be more collaborative when necessary. With Google Wave you can go back and play the Wave again (which many of us need). This may just be what we’ve all been looking for.
Google Wave Developer Blog
The Official Google Blog
ZD Net: Meet Google Wave
TechCrunch: Google Wave Drips with Ambition