Yesterday Google announced a new product at it's I/O conference - Google Wave.
What is Google Wave? As developer Lars Rasmussen says, it's "what email would look like if it were invented today."
That's the short answer. The long answer is really really long and I'm told barely makes a dent in what Wave will eventually be offering.
The idea is to take your email and instant messaging providers and put it into one place. This may sound familiar, as apps like Digsby and the new Trillian Astra and even FriendFeed provide services like this. What sets Wave appart from the rest is online collaboration.
With real-time online collaboration, Google Wave allows users to edit, comment and chat simultaneously. It integrates almost all email and instant messaging applications (with the exception of Microsoft) as long as it is HTML 5 compliant.
This is all just in Phase 1. Phase 2 will see Google inviting developers to learn and add to this open source application. The success and groth of the product will come from the input of those who are using it. Should these first two phases go well, Google will evolve Wave into a communication platform. There's more information at www.waveprotocol.org.
This looks really exciting but unfortunately, won't be available for public use for a little bit longer. You can apply to become a tester by going to the Google Wave site. I'm hoping to be one of those initial users and look forward to sharing my experience with you!