Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Google Previews "Wave" Internet Protocol for Rich Collaboration

At a developer's conference in San Francisco, Google previewed a new online communications paradigm aimed at better integrating email, instant messaging, whiteboarding, wikis, blogging, Twitter and social networking. The forthcoming "Google Wave", which is now opened to developers, aims to provide a new form of Internet communication/collaboration built around the user's Inbox. Google will offer a Wave application to its own users while promoting the technology as a new Internet protocol. The project is led by Lars Rasmussen and his brother Jens Rasmussen, who previously developed location technology that became part of Google Maps.

Under the Google Wave paradigm, users participate in writing/editing/sharing "waves" of conversations that can be viewed in real-time or rewinded. The waves are actually a new form of hosted, multi-user XML documents that are stored on Wave Servers. A wave is identified by a globally unique wave id, which is a pair of a domain name and an id string. A new Federation Protocol is used for enabling the collaboration.

Google Wave is an HTML 5 application built on Google Web Toolkit. It includes a rich text editor and other functions like desktop drag-and-drop Users, for example, can simply drag a set of photos right into a wave. The Google Wave protocol is the underlying format for storing and the means of sharing waves, and includes the "live" concurrency control, which allows edits to be reflected instantly across users and services. The protocol is designed for open federation, such that anyone's Wave services can interoperate with each other and with the Google Wave service. More specifically, the Google Wave Federation Protocol is an open extension to XMPP core [RFC3920] protocol that enables near real-time communication between two wave servers.

As with Android and its Chrome browser, Google plans to make the Wave code open source. Google envisions that it will be one of many wave providers on the Internet. For ISPs, waves would become a supplementary service, like SMTP, FTP or IM.

Whitepapers on the Google Wave Architecture are online.

See also