1 October 2009 SAN FRANCISCO - Google is to release a new product aimed at making email obsolete, the company said in a blog posting Tuesday.
Google Wave combines the best features of email, instant messaging, social networking and collaborative document editing and will be released Wednesday to 100,000 developers and selected corporate users, the company said.
Called a personal communication and collaboration tool, the open source product was first unveiled at a Google developer conference in May, and will now be unleashed on an army of developers to iron out the bugs.
The application was developed in Australia by Jens and Lars Rasmussen, the brothers who had a key role in developing Google Maps.
According to its inventors, Google Wave will do to email what the computer did to the typewriter. In a blog posting announcing the product, Lars Rasmussen said that email and instant messaging were designed to mimic snail mail and phone calls, whereas Wave was designed to take advantage of current abilities rather than imitating non-electronic forms.
Thus one person can create a Wave and add people to it. Everyone will be able to use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets and web feeds, and edit any document in real time. Wave also features built- in translation tools for 40 languages.
The development comes as Google increasingly seeks to spread its dominance from its core strength in internet search to a wider range of technologies.
The company has already made strong headway with its Android software for mobile phones, and its Google Voice application is fast picking up adherents who are using it to bypass traditional phone companies. However Google Apps, the company’s online productivity suite, has yet to make strong inroads in the corporate world where Microsoft’s Office suite still dominates.
Enterprise service companies like SAP and Salesforce are already developing their own applications to piggyback on the open source application. Other gadgets include a trip-planning tool from Lonely Planet, a real time Soduko game and a live meeting point called 6rounds that enables people to interact together over the internet, and Google plans to open an iPhone-like App Store to encourage further outside development.