- A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
- A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.
- A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.
And as we're moving onto more real-timeness and collaboration already (think Friendfeed lifestreams, real social bookmarking and annotation, social news and more), this is much more than another Google service:
At last, one more thing, something that explains why Google is such a remarkable company - it's the story behind Wave. Starting from the question “Could a single communications model span all or most of the systems in use on the web today, in one smooth continuum? How simple could we make it?” they have achieved a lot. And Google's introductory blog post has the innovation story, ie. why it must have been Google to say yes to this idea and on the early days of Wave (more on Google innovation culture, ie. a company whose unique culture shows through in small ways):
When Lars Rasmussen first floated the idea, Google co-founder Sergey Brin wasn't impressed. “He came to me and he said ‘This may sound kinda crazy, but we're going to reinvent communication and we just need a bunch of engineers to go of to Australia for a while and we'll get back to you after a couple of years,'” Brin remembers. “It was not a very compelling proposal.”
More wave information at the usual places, like Techcrunch, Tim O'Reilly (Open Source, Open Protocol, and Federated Wave Clouds), Forrester, Mashable
And yes, you can sign up for Google Wave updates