Google hoping Web surfers will ride its 'Wave'

May 28, 2009 By MICHAEL LIEDTKE , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Google Inc. is hatching a new species of e-mail and instant messaging, but the Internet search leader first wants the hybrid service to evolve even more with the help of independent computer programmers.

The free tool, called "Google Wave," runs in a Web browser and combines elements of e-mail, instant messaging, wikis and photo sharing in an effort to make online communication more dynamic. Google hopes Wave simplifies the way people collaborate on projects or exchange opinions about specific topics.

Google offered the first glimpse of its latest offering Thursday during the Mountain View, Calif.-based company's annual conference for who build programs on top of its services. The rest of the Web-surfing public won't be able to hop on Google Wave until later in the year. (Go to http://wave.google.com for a preview.)

By the time Wave rolls out for everyone, Google hopes independent programmers will have found new ways to use the service.

Among other things, Google is counting on outsiders to figure out how to weave Wave into the popular Internet communications service Twitter, social networks like Facebook and existing Web-based e-mail services, said Lars Rasmussen, a Google engineering manager.

Rasmussen and his brother, Jens, helped build Google's online mapping service, which sprouted a variety of unforeseen uses after its 2005 debut because of the ingenuity of external programmers.

Having learned their lesson from the mapping experience, the Rasmussens wanted to give developers ample time to tinker with their newest creation before unleashing it on the rest of the world.

The Rasmussens broke away from Google's mapping service in 2006 to concentrate on building a service that would enable e-mail and to embrace the Web's increasingly social nature. They contend e-mail hasn't changed that much since its invention during the 1960s.

"We started out by saying to ourselves, `What might e-mail look like if it had been invented today?'" said Lars Rasmussen, who worked on Wave in Australia with his brother and just three other employees.

Wave is designed to make it easier to converse over e-mail by providing tools to highlight particular parts of the written conversation. In instant messages, participants can see what everyone else is writing as they type, unless they choose a privacy control. Photos and other online applications known as "widgets" also can be transplanted into the service.

The service could easily accommodate advertising like Google's 5-year-old e-mail service already does, but Lars Rasmussen said it's still too early to predict how the company might profit from Wave.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Facebook tuning mobile search at social network

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google glitch disrupts search engine, e-mail

May 14, 2009

(AP) -- Millions of people were cut off from Google Inc.'s search engine, e-mail and other online services Thursday, sparking a flurry of frustrated venting that served as a reminder of society's growing ...

Google's openness intensifies focus on e-mail woes

Mar 12, 2009

(AP) -- Google Inc.'s recent pledge to be more open about periodic service outages appears to be drawing more attention to the breakdowns when they occur, even if it's a minor hiccup affecting a sliver of its users.

Google drops Gmail name in U.K.

Oct 19, 2005

Gmail, the free e-mail service provided by search giant Google, changed its name to Google Mail for British users Wednesday after a trademark dispute.

Google Maps combines with Google Local

Oct 07, 2005

Google Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., says it has combined its Google Maps service with Google Local, moving both out of beta, or testing, status.

Google offers free Web analytics

Nov 14, 2005

Google said Monday its Web analytics service will be available for free as of Nov. 14. Formerly known as Urchin from Google, Google Analytics will be available to help users make use of data to improve their ...

Recommended for you

Ecuador heralds 'digital currency' plans

10 hours ago

Ecuador is planning to create the world's first government-issued digital currency, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, the U.S. dollar, which ...

'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

10 hours ago

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to end a two-year forced stay at Ecuador's London embassy, he may take comfort in knowing he inspired resistance to secrecy in places as far away as Swaziland.

WEF unveils 'crowdsourcing' push on how to run the Web

Aug 28, 2014

The World Economic Forum unveiled a project on Thursday aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the Internet.

Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

Aug 26, 2014

People on Facebook and Twitter say they are less likely to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey by the Pew Research Center.

User comments : 0