Just as Microsoft is unveiling a search engine to take on Google Search, Google is unveiling a software program to take on Microsoft Office. It's called Google Wave, an online "collaboration" tool that brings document sharing, emailing and instant messaging under one program that works a bit like a live chatroom. Google says it developed Wave to answer the question, "What would email look like if we set out to invent it today?" It would look like this:
What the heck is that! Here's how the guys at Gizmodo described it: "a frothy...live chatroom with a spread of documents, photos and/or videos, where you can reply to any part of any message or anything that's shared, and it's all real-time." That's sounds splendid and the Wave -- which is essentially a real-time communications stream -- really does sound like the you-know-what of the future. But I'm somewhat of a tech simpleton. Features schmeatures: How will it actually change the way I work? Here's a simple breakdown:
Email: Take it from TechCrunch: "Clicking on any of the wave threads will open another pane to the right of the inbox that shows that wave in its entirety. Let's say one wave is a message from a friend and you want to reply to it. If they're not currently online, you can do it below their message just as you may in Gmail. Except there's no bulky new message creator to pop open, you simply start typing below your friend's message. But perhaps you want to respond to a particular part of their message -- well you can do that too simply by starting to type below the part you're replying to."