Google always has something up their sleeves. Recently, it is the new Google Wave announced over the summer. I was given the opportunity to try out Google Wave and I am still wondering what it is. It is easy to tell you what it is, but when I actually use the product, it is hard to understand. Let me give you the gist of it.
Wave is real-time e-mail. What that means is that when you're writing a reply to a message (or "wave") that you receive in the system, the recipient can see what you are typing as you type it.
You can put your replies anywhere in the message. You can also do this in regular e-mail, but in Wave, your comments are easy to pick out since the app bounds reply text in colored boxes with authors' pictures embedded in them.
You can drop pictures straight into Wave messages (a neat trick in a browser-based app, made possible by Google Gears), and smart assistants will let you convert addresses to maps, automatically fix spelling errors, and expand contact names. It is all a realy cool concept. It's the reply-anywhere feature combined with the real-time function that's most interesting. It makes Wave the first useful blend of e-mail and instant messaging that I've seen.
I haven't had too much time to play with it, but the more I play, the more features and functionality I find. I am slowly getting the hang of it, and as more people are exposed to this service, the more interaction not only I can have within Wave, but others as well, which would be way better than testing this with only a few people. If you haven't already, sign up for a beta invite. They are slowly releasing them ;)