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More on Google Wave

In particular the “Web Worker” feature which allows for a web page to do background processing is pretty key

From Shannon Clark, from a mailing list, with permission (and a very few light edits because of its original mailing list context):

I just got back from Google IO - but couldn't hangout as long as I wanted to this afternoon, but I did talk with some of the Wave team.

It is not yet released, they have published dev docs and are taking signups for people who are interested and they are working on opening it up as quickly as possible.

From what I've seen so far, it indeed looks exceptionally cool - and is very important to the future of the web.

It is also, and this is a key point, tied closely to the release and support of HTML 5 - so watch how that progresses in Chrome & Safari - Version 4 of Safari is in beta and available easily btw (and watch for the release of Firefox 3.5) - when those are released out of dev into prod supporting HTML 5 I'd predict we'll see Wave (and likely other surprisingly powerful applications) start to get released that take advantage of HTML 5's features.

In particular the "Web Worker" feature which allows for a web page to do background processing is pretty key - potentially I suspect also a security concern (though I hope this is not the case) but more practically it means that web pages can do even more intensive processing without killing your ability to switch tabs & keep working (some other moves Google is proposing would enhance this capabilities even further)

The other features are also pretty nifty

- a standard data store to allow for offline applications (without a plugin like Google Gears being required),

- standard ways to do geolocation (where the browser/OS chooses which tools to use to calculate it, the web page only gets the data if you give it permission to do so),

- a video tag also removing yet another plugin being needed - it also allows multiple video elements of a page to manipulated by CSS & Javascript - Google demoed a YouTube page where every thumbnail could play on mouseover - all while loading very quickly) - see http://youtube.com/html5 if you have a dev release which is HTML5 compatible

- a canvas tag which is an area that is pixel level addressable by javascript - allows for really smooth applications to be built & developed

- in talking with people at Google they definitely intend to open source the client & eventually probably the server - currently the whole app is over 1M lines of code which they are reviewing to ensure they can in fact open source all of it (my guess is the would rewrite sections they can't open source currently - stuff that perhaps uses a licensed library etc)

The plan is for companies or organizations to be able to run their own Wave servers - which might then do federation.

That said, from the conversations it sounds like they have found issues and complications with Federation so that may be a feature left out early on (which isn't a big deal for the initial releases if Google will be hosting all of the first Waves).

Look carefully at some of the posts about Wave - in particular the distinction between Gadgets & Robots. Gadgets being stuff like the existing OpenSocial apps (which will mostly all work directly) - chess games & other rich, usually social applications which will be embedable into a specific wave.

Robots on the other hand are much like old IRC robots - but can do much more than just respond to a chat/hold a conversation - they will also be able to modify a wave much as any other user - so they could do automated spell checking/translation, could modify/enhance content which is posted (making stocktickers links or the like), and can serve as bridges with other systems - so one of the first Google wrote links specific tweets into a Wave.

Very cool stuff 

[Tags: google google_wave googlewave ]

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David is the author of JOHO the blog (www.hyperorg.com/blogger). He is an independent marketing consultant and a frequent speaker at various conferences. "All I can promise is that I will be honest with you and never write something I don't believe in because someone is paying me as part of a relationship you don't know about. Put differently: All I'll hide are the irrelevancies."

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