Described by Google as "a new model for communication and collaboration on the web," many industry pundits and technology Bloggers says it's more like creating a bunch of independent online social networks that are based on a marriage of email and instant messaging. Each "page" or online social networking area is called a "wave." Within it you can have conversations and share documents in real time. It's not just about text either. The platform allows people to communicate and collaborate with any form of rich media (this includes text, photos, videos, maps and more). Any participant can reply and connect anywhere in the message as well as being able to edit the content and add participants. The waves also includes a "playback" feature that allows people who may have joined later in the wave to "rewind" all of the content.
Is Google Wave the next generation of the live web?
While the platform is still in development (it's looking like it will be publicly available later in the year), one of the major features and functionality that Google is promoting is how "live" the platform is. This includes a live transmission as you type (I seem to recall ICQ instant messaging having this feature as well) which will enable people to have faster conversations, see edits as they are happening and interact in real-time. The platform is also pushing the ability to drag and drop items and make the Web a much more friendlier/easier place for everyone to connect, share, build and grow.
Is Google Wave good for Marketers?
It is way too early to tell, but there are some indications that if a platform like Google Wave does take off, it will fragment the concept of an online social network and splinter it down to a place where these areas are not used by masses to congregate and boast how many friends or connections they have, but perhaps the metric becomes how many waves individuals are engaged with and how active the conversation and collaboration is. The platform obviously creates much more targeted inventory for advertising with the Google AdWords model (much like it does over at Gmail), but depending on how open or private these waves will be, this could also be one of those moments in time where people shift from having their opinions out in public, back into smaller, cozier and more personal conversations in a Google Wave.
Imagine brands inviting their consumers into a Google Wave - be it for customer service, product development or simply to discuss brand evangelism. This could become the highly personalized online social network many of us have been waiting for.
In the meantime, you can watch the hour-plus-long video of the unveiling of Google Wave right here: