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Wave Goodbye to Email

June 2, 2009

Last week, Google introduced a technology called Google Wave. It is a communication platform that will allow users to communicate, much like they can with email. But, it is significantly different than email in the way discussions take place. A "wave" can be significantly more dynamic than email messages. Plus, the technology allows one to integrate a messaging platform with blogs, Twitter, or just about any other information source on the Internet.

All that sounds interesting, but what really caught my attention was the fact that Google is not just building a platform that it runs in-house and users around the Internet use. Rather, what got me really excited is that Google is building a system that fully federates with domains around the world. Anybody can run a wave server, much like they run an email server today.

The way inter-domain federation is enabled is by building on open standards like XMPP. By using XMPP, they are able to have members of a wave who exist in any number of domains. Those users are then able to communicate in real-time through the wave. And when I say real-time, that is what I mean: as you edit a wave, the other users who are a part of the wave can see your edits as they are made.

This is definitely the first messaging platform that I have seen that truly embraces the capabilities enabled by the web. It might take a few years for this technology to take off, but I do believe it has a real potential to displace email as the primary mode of communication in the future. It's really awesome.

Be sure to check out the video Google made where they unveiled Google Wave for the first time. It was given at the developer's conference, but you do not need to be a software engineer to see the power and flexibility of this new messaging paradigm.

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