One more demo, and some perspective
In a third video, he showed Wave working on an Apple iPhone and an Android phone, how Wave conversations can be embedded in Web pages and how Wave can be used to collaborate on documents.
Lars and Jens Rasmussen started working on the project about two years ago, initially as a five-person team. The group developed a prototype they showed to developers in Google's Sydney office and gathered a team of 50 developers who have taken the stage where it is now ready for a limited release to outside developers.
Google provided Wave accounts to an estimated 4,000 developers at its Google I/O conference here in hopes they would spark work on third-party applications and tools for Wave. Google expects to release an end user version of the software later this year.
Success for Wave depends on several factors. Google must finish an end-user version of the software and make sure it can scale. It must also try to drive acceptance of techniques it uses into HTML5 as standards so it doesn't have to depend on internal Google tools such as Gears.
Perhaps most importantly, Google must overcome the inertia of existing email programs such as Microsoft Outlook used by the vast majority of businesses. For that, Google depends on the enthusiasm of third party developers to adopt and create a compelling set of product offerings around Wave.
The initial public preview at Google I/O marked a great start in that direction. Developers gave Rasmussen a standing ovation after dozens of Wave demos stretching over about 90 minutes.
"It felt kind of nice that you guys seem to like what we've done," said Rasmussen after the applause subsided.
He showed APIs that let users put Wave conversation threads on a Web site or blog where anyone can join in a conversation. He also demonstrated ways to link Waves to other programs including Twitter or create their own Wave-like programs with different user interfaces and features.
"We scrambled to put an API on Google Maps, and it was a huge key to driving our success," he said. "So please check Wave out, build cool stuff on it and surprise us," he told the Google I/O crowd.
Making Wave open to work with other applications "vastly complicates things," he added. "It would be so much easier if we could keep this proprietary, but we think it's worth the effort if this is an open system and people can build their own Waves," he said.
Google has set up a Web site developers to access the Wave application. It has separate sites with technical information on the Wave protocol and APIs for Wave.