Google: waving, not drowning

This morning’s Observer column.

From the outset, Google clearly had plans for Ajax. The evidence was in the steady accretion of Gmail features like instant messaging, audio – and then video – chat, and so on. But until the end of last month we were still unsure about where all this was headed.

Now we know. It’s called Google Wave. It’s described as “a real-time communication platform which combines aspects of email, instant messaging, wikis, web chat, social networking and project management to build one elegant, in-browser communication client”. Translation: it’s a sophisticated set of tools enabling people to work collaboratively across the internet. And ‘real-time’ means exactly that: in most cases what you type appears – as you type it – on other people’s screens…