Despite a blaze of publicity and a huge clamour to receive an ‘invite’ enabling users to make use of the application, it emerged last night that nobody is really sure what Google Wave is or what it does.
Google Wave was launched earlier this year, with Google insiders claiming that it was “what e-mail might look like if it were launched today.”
“What the hell does that mean?” said 28 year-old trainee accountant Colin Steeple – one of hundreds of people around the country attempting to fathom the intricacies of the service. “E-mail has already been launched, so if it’s a similar offering, then it’s probably a bit redundant, isn’t it?”
45 year-old computer programmer Dave Harper has been equally confused by the promise of great things from Google Wave.
“I read about it months ago and heard how it was going to revolutionise the way we communicate with each other by sending ‘waves’,” he explained. “But I’m still no clearer on what that actually means. “I had imagined a gigantic wave of binary information soaring high above my head as soon as I type something, but there seems to be no option for that – only lots of different panes and tabs. Perhaps mine is broken?”
Colin agrees: “I’m not really sure what the whole ‘wave’ thing means. Does it mean I have to wave at people more? I mean, sure, I could watch the three hour tutorial video and find out about it that way, but you know – I’ve got a life.”
When approached for some clarification as to what Google Wave did, Google issued the following statement: “Google Wave is a personal communication and collaboration tool. It is a web-based service, computing platftorm and communications protocol designed to merge e-mail, instant messaging, wikis, and social networking.”
The statement continued: “Google Wave provides federation by using an extension of XMPP, the open Wave Federation Protocal. Being an open protocol, anyone can use it to build a custom Wave system and become a wave provider. The use of an open protocol is intended to parallel the openness and ease of adoption of the e-mail protocol and, like e-mail, allow communication regardless of provider. Google hopes that waves may replace e-mail as the dominant form of Internet communication.”
“What was the first bit?” said Dave Harper upon being informed of the statement. “Look, I may not understand a word of what that statement says, or have the first idea about how Google Wave works, but if there’s one thing I do know it’s that if it’s produced by Google, then it must be amazing. Woo! Go Google Wave!”