announced the general launch of Google Wave at its annual developer conference in San Francisco. Until today, Wave was an invite-only service, but starting now, anybody with a Google account will be able to log into Wave and use it without any restrictions. Google will also enable Wave for Google Apps users today. In order to educate these new users, the Google Wave team has also created a number of new videos and case studies that highlight how organizations can use Wave to collaborate more effectively.Google just
Collaboration: The Sweet Spot for Wave
When we talked to the Wave team yesterday, the project's co-founder Lars Rasmussen noted that since the launch of the invite-only beta, group collaboration in businesses, education, news organizations and at conferences has emerged as the sweet spot for Wave. That will be the use-case that the Wave team plans to highlight during the general launch and in the next few weeks.
Why did Google decide to open up Wave now? According to the Wave team, the service is now stable and fast enough for a mainstream audience (crashes were a very common sight in the early days). During the invite-only testing period, the team added numerous new features that its early users requested. These include email notifications of updated waves and access controls for waves, as well as making it easier for users to reply and edit waves and find unread material in a wave. The team also introduced templates that make getting started easier for new users.
Updates for Developers
Besides opening up sign-ups for Wave, the team announced a number of developer features at I/O today. The next version of the Robots API, for example, will not only untie Wave robots from Google's App Engine, but also allow developers to create "active" robots that can generate waves and update them. Google is launching improvements to the Embed API, including the ability to give readers anonymous access to waves.
Maybe the most exciting update is that Google is releasing a new Data API that will allow developers to create lightweight Wave clients. For now, as Rasmussen noted in our interview, developers won't be able to create full-fledged Wave clients yet, but the team has started to define a client and server protocol that will soon make it a possibility.
In order to help developers create their own applications on top of the Wave APIs and bootstrap the Wave developer community, the team is open-sourcing the real-time Wave rich text editor.
The Wave team has also made progress in getting companies like Novell and projects like PyGoWave, Ruby on Sails and QWave to support the wave federation protocol. The latest company to sign on to this project is SAP, which will use Wave in its StreamWork product.