[LINK] Google Wave

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Sat Oct 3 09:01:52 AEST 2009

Do linkers have thoughts on this new Google project? It looks like a 
portal on steroids, not much different from the new Yahoo interface. 
Am I missing something?

Nigel makes Waves: Google's bid to overthrow email

Asher Moses
October 2, 2009 - 12:36PM

His academic rock star brother is known as "the Mozart of maths" but 
Google Australia engineer Nigel Tao may one day be able to match that 
accolade if he succeeds in helping the search giant to overthrow email.

This week, Google opened up its groundbreaking 
<http://wave.google.com>Wave product to the public for the first 
time, offering invitations to a select group of 100,000 testers, 
developers and early adopters from around the world.

Tao, 30, is part of the team at Google Australia that created the 
product and, perhaps fitting for a software company such as Google, 
comes from a rich lineage of maths geniuses.

His older brother Terry, 34, won the Fields Medal, considered the 
Nobel Prize of maths, in 2006 and at 24 became the youngest full 
professor appointed to the maths department at the University of California.

His other brother, Trevor, is the subject of an upcoming book on 
autistic savants and has a double degree in maths and music.

Nigel, who has an IQ of 180, is also a maths whiz but went down a 
different path after leaving university in 2001 to follow his honours 
supervisor to a coding gig at a dotcom company in the US.

He has been working at Google Australia since 2006.

"It might have been genetics, it might have been upbringing, but part 
of it is [that] as kids we enjoyed reading about maths and ... 
messing around making programs," he said.

"I don't have a trophy cabinet like Terry does but I think I've done 
some good stuff."

A case in point: Google Wave. The product seeks to introduce a 
completely new way of communicating online by combining elements from 
email, instant messaging, wikis and social networks with the ability 
to share documents, maps, images and video - all rolled up into a 
single new web-based tool.

Head Google engineer Lars Rasmussen said the company planned to open 
Wave up to everyone early next year but first wanted to make sure all 
of the bugs were ironed out and that Google's servers could handle the load.

"It is a new type of communication - email is the way most people 
still communicate, which is remarkable because the technology was 
invented 40 years ago," he said.

"If you look at a picture of the first computer that sent an email, 
it looks sort of like a cockpit in an old airplane."

Some enterprising bloggers have tried to sell their sought-after Wave 
invitations on eBay, even though it breaches the site's terms of service.

One blogger 
he was offered several thousand dollars for his invitation before 
eBay told him to remove the auction.

Rasmussen describes a Wave as a shared object that sits in between a 
conversation and a document.

Everything inside Wave happens in real time and groups of friends can 
use it to chat, collaborate on documents, play games and share files.

Rasmussen admits he still does not know exactly how people will end 
up using it, which is why Google has opened up the platform with an 
Application Programming Interface (API) so that third parties can 
extend Wave's functionality - in a similar way to "extensions" for 
the Firefox browser.

"We think our API is good enough that integration can be done with 
Twitter, Facebook, email, instant messaging, Orkut," he said.

"The idea is you could sit inside Wave and manage all your 
communication on those other systems - or not."

Some of the extensions developed so far include Sudoku, 
teleconference tool Ribbit, Lonely Planet travel guides, Google Maps, 
AccuWeather and video chat.

Rasmussen and his team have coined the term "wave moments" to 
describe something in Wave that would have been much more difficult 
to accomplish using existing communications tools.

They now use Wave for most of their internal communications and find 
it is a more efficient way of conducting meetings, as text from each 
participant appears live as they are typing.

Revisions of the tool will allow users to turn the live typing 
function off, Rasmussen said.

"When you have everyone in a room, only one person can talk at a time 
but in a Wave you can have five people talking at the same time," he said.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has said he 
Wave sounded "kind of crazy" when it was first proposed in 2007 but 
now believes it will herald "a form of interaction that you would not 
have previously imagined".

This story was found at: 

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

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