New Wave of collaboration!

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.

Google Wave Preview
Google Wave Preview
Message in Wave
Message in Wave
Wave Attachments
Wave Attachments
Participants
Participants
Inbox
Inbox
Management
Management
Management
Conacts

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