SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. At its annual developer conference here, Google demonstrated Wave, a program it said could represent the future of online communications. The software—the brunt of which the company said will be made open source--blurs the lines between email, instant messaging and online document collaboration.
"We asked ourselves what will email look like in the future and this is our attempt to define that," said Lars Rasmussen, a software engineering manager who with his brother Jens led the development of Google Maps.
The software is the latest of several efforts from Google to make Web browsers and open source software the center of gravity for software innovation. Like Google's Chrome browser and Android mobile operating system, Wave essentially attempts to wrest leadership from Microsoft Corp. and Windows.
Wave essentially creates lightweight shared tree structures that can include shared objects ranging from short IM text messages to pictures and videos. By making the software and its protocols available as open source, Google is potentially creating a powerful tool to create a wide range of new Web-based applications.
In an initial demo, Rasmussen described the concept of Wave and showed its email and IM features.
In a second demo, he showed how Wave accepts photos.