Google may have killed Wave (prematurely by some accounts), but it has added a little bit of real-time collaboration to one of its flagship offerings, Google Docs, with the addition of collaborative highlighting.
The new feature is straightforward and simple, but offers some real potential in working collaboratively, in real-time, on the Internet. According to the Google Docs blog, "you can now see the text that other editors are highlighting as they select it." This means that, before anything happens, you'll be able to see the text get highlighted. From the image, it also looks like you'll be able to select text and append notes to it, a much-used feature of professors and editors alike in full word processing programs like Microsoft Office.
The difference here is that it is all happening in real time. As we both look at the document and go to make changes, we see one another highlight text and add commentary. It's a step-by-step process rather than a completely asynchronous communication. It's the difference between chat and email and it makes all the difference in the interaction between writer and editor, or even editor and editor if you're collaboratively editing a document.
Wave may be dead, but we hope that Docs will begin to see more real-time collaborative tools introduced in its place.
What do you think - what other uses could you see for this sort of real-time interaction? And what other bits of Wave would you like to see revived in Docs?