Google rolls out next Wave of the web

Google Wave

Google has unveiled its latest innovation, a real-time communications system called Wave.

Formally codenamed 'Walkabout', Wave brings together real-time text, photos, feeds and other web content into one collection, which can be edited and added to by friends or coworkers.

"A wave' is equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more, said Lars Rasmussen, Software Engineering Manager, on the official Google blog.

That might sound a little like Facebook or other social networks, but unlike those, Google's Wave will be open. APIs will be available to any developer and Waves can be embedded in other sites too.

Like Android, Wave will be open source, making the move in a couple months, Google said.

"Two of the most spectacular successes in digital communication, email and instant messaging, were originally designed in the '60s. Since then, so many different forms of communication have been invented blogs, wikis, collaborative documents, etc and computers and networks have dramatically improved," said Rasmussen.

"With Google Wave, we're proposing a new communications model that presumes all these advances as a starting point."

Wave could also have potential as a business tool. It features real-time text editing, so you can see what your coworkers are typing "letter-by-letter," Google said. It also features a playback system, so you can rewind changes and see how your creations have evolved.

While news of Wave will no doubt excite many, for the moment it's only been released to developers and a public release is still at least a few months away.