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Google's big Wave (now with video!)

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Want to understand Google Wave? Watch this video. Seriously. Watch it.

It's not often in this age of 30-second YouTube clips that we do any one thing online for an hour and a half. But that's what I'd recommend you do if you want to understand what Wave can do.

The buzzphrase for Wave, a utility first demonstrated Thursday at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, is "What email would look like if it were developed today." I think that oversimplifies it. As I see it, Wave is a realtime-updating collaborative creation and communication engine, a targeted social network with built-in customizable privacy controls, all presented in a cross-platform, browser-neutral package that's accessible to everyone. But that's a mouthful.

Co-creator Lars Rasmussen explains it like this on the Google Blog:

Here's how it works: In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. It's concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content — it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use "playback" to rewind the wave and see how it evolved.

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