What is Google Wave?

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What is Google Wave and where does it fit in with Google’s current lineup of communication tools?

That is the question I’m wondering at the moment. I saw a video on youtube done by the team and it was half impressive and half worrying. On the one hand, it looks like a cool fusion of a lot of different things. email, IM and even google doc’s style collaboration. On the other hand, it makes me worry how this will fit in and whether or not it will replace Gmail, Google talk and Google Docs.

Surely when this service does everything you need from an email service or IM, what do you need those for anymore?

On the other hand, you could also say the opposite and that the reason that email and more recently IM have been around so long is because they do the job well, and therefore there’s been no need to change them.

Personally, I like having the choice of where I want to access my email, whether it be on different devices, using a web browser or a dedicated app like Thunderbird, Apple Mail or Windows Mail. Unless I’m mistaken, Google Wave is a browser based system so I’m not sure how I like that.

I also like the simplicity of email. I know that when I type a message I know it’s going to go to who I select and there’s no privacy issues. With this I will be a bit more wary of what I’m doing.

My personal opinion on this is that it won’t replace email, or at least it won’t for the time being. I also feel that probably the only way such a system could ever replace email is if everyone collaborated to do it because without standards it could never work. Google can’t do it all themselves.

I do kind of hope that it replaces Google Talk and unifies Google’s web apps a bit because right now they have so much stuff that it would be nice to see combined together more seamlessly.

I always felt that GTalk was a half-hearted effort at IM. I don’t think Google really know what they want to do in that space and have just ignored it in recent times, instead focusing on implementing exciting features like voice and video chat, as well as the standard text based IMing simply within GMail using only a web browser.

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