While reading collaboration & social networking, I realized that this domain features a brand new ‘wave’ of products. Products that will take collaboration, communication, mash-ups and mobility to the next level. And ultimately replace email! Shocking, ain’t it? I started believing it after checking out the Google Wave demo. Wave is set to launch in September while Shareflow, with lesser jazz, is already available.
Wave & Shareflow are build on similar concepts that derive benefits and overcome short-coming of email, blogs, forums (bulletin boards), document sharing and chat. A few highlights of this genre of products:
- Every conversation, discussion, document, plan & blog post will start as a wave or flow (wave hereon)
- Participants can be chosen at the begining or added at any time (Surprisingly with Wave, Picasa albums and Blogger posts can be participants that can stay updated)
- Newly added participants can review/playback the entire wave as it got ‘bigger’
- Pictures, videos, documents can all be added to a wave, thus shared.
- Participants can add replies inline to the wave; If the reply applies to a part of a message, the message can be split so as to specify what exactly it refers to
- Data from waves can be exported as a document, blog post or even a photo album.
- Gadget development will flourish through offered APIs. Gadgets too can be embedded.
The two, however, differ on 3 aspects: cost, time-to-market & feature set. Wave is still in limited preview, while Shareflow launched in July 2009 – just after Wave was first previewed. Shareflow is ‘more commercial’ and offers a free-version with a lot of restrictions (25MB, only 5 flows); subscriptions merely changes allowed volume – the feature set for all users is the same. After the Wave demo, it felt really sloppy and seems to lack a lot. I will soon dedicate a whole post to [permalink href=”362″]Shareflow short-comings[/permalink].
Wave, on the other hand, was introduced by a Google co-director as being essentially open-source (~free) that will develop further on community effort. First previewed this May at the Google IO 2009, access to the sandbox is limited to a privileged few present at the event. Like any other Google product, it will be remain a perpetual beta, and user base will slowly expand (mostly through invitation like Gmail) to 100000 by Sep-end. The Wave homepage has a 80 min must watch video that I have added below. Although there is a lot of talking, all highlights mentioned above have been well demonstrated. If possible, to take time out to watch it! (I am yet to watch the last 25 mins)
[youtube v_UyVmITiYQ Google Wave Developer Preview at Google I/O 2009]
There is very little to read about on the internet and fewer screenshots are available. I have used a single large screenshot, pieced it to highlight key features of Google Wave, as explained in the video.