Playing with Google Wave
Wow. I've spent some time playing with Google Wave over the past few hours. I must say it's a bit overwhelming. My initial reaction is that Wave can fulfill it's design goal. I can see Wave completely replacing email. Traditional email functionality is a subset of Wave functionality. It should be a simple switch with one caveat. Large public waves are like being in a chaotic editing jam session. It's often difficult to keep track of all the conversations going on in the same doc. So if you are sending a Wave to a bunch of contacts that are all online you can probably expect that someone is going to just start typing a response before you've finished composing your message. There is currently nothing stopping them from seeing the inbound wave and just jumping in. That happens frequently in IM/Chat but it's impossible with email. No one sees anything you write in email until you press send. This has all sorts of interesting implications. Drunk Waving is probably going to lose a few of you out there your jobs or your ex is going to want to slap you with an injunction. So waver beware! (Caveat Undo-er?)
The quite side of wave is simply document editing although one could see that you could add some useful robots to your editing session. Robots are bits of code that will watch while you type and trigger some functionality based on an event or by matching some word or phrase. It's not hard to imagine basic utility robots for thesaurus, dictionary, spelling, grammar, etc. You can also imagine more advanced types of robots that would identify addresses, embedded images, and pull up more information via search. Imagine dropping in a bad picture of a painting in a document and having a robot automatically, or at your request, search the web for alternative images of the same painting.
Wave is really going to be all about communicating and collaborating online and in real time. I think that's where things will settle but it's going to require us to learn how to deal with collaboration that happens that fast. There aren't many systems out there that behave this way on this scale. It's going to take some time and it might be some time before your Waving with your mom and dad.