Summary of Google Wave Keynote video

After watching the Google I/O keynote video about Google Wave, I got really excited Google_Wave_logoabout it and have been talking about Google Wave to most of my friends and colleagues. Some of them asked me to explain about it. I tried, but I am not sure whether I fully succeeded. 😉 In the end I said, go watch the keynote video and after sometime they replied, “Damn! it’s about 80 minutes long and do you have a summary”. And so guys here is the summary of the Google Wave keynote video given at Google I/O.

Google Wave

Google Wave is a product that helps users communicate and collaborate on the web. A “wave” is equal parts conversation and document, where users can almost instantly communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

People behind Google Wave

Google Wave is the brain child of two bothers from Sydney, Lars Rasmussen and Jens Rasmussen who were the original developers of Google Map. You can also know about the Google Wave team from the team bio pages.

Just a developer preview

Google wave has been under development for more than one and a half years now and it might take another year before a beta version is released for the outside world. This is the first time, people outside Google are seeing the demo. The reason for showing the demo now is to woo the developers and to build an ecosystem around it. Google Wave was fully developed using Google Web Toolkit and the code is going to be released to the open source world.


The presentation consists of three parts

  • Product
  • Platform
  • Protocol


Email is the most used communication tool of the present day internet. But email was created around 40 years back, before the internet was developed. The internet has evolved and the network has improved in these 40 years, but email is not taking advantage of them.

Google wave is what email will look like if it was developed today. It is the new way of communication in the internet.

Every typed character is transmitted in real time

Traditional email works like snail mail, but Google wave is real-time. At this point, they showed a demo of Google wave, where every character typed by one person is visible to the other person in real time, without waiting for the Done button to be clicked. Google wave is transmitting a packet for every character that is typed, and it can be disabled if needed. (This was my first wow movement 🙂 ). See the demo.


Step by step playback

When a new person is added to the wave (conversation) he can playback all the changes that have been done from the time it was created. You cannot understand it unless you see the demo. (This was my next wow movement). See the demo.

Drag and Drop attachment

Adding attachments to the wave is as simple as drag and dropping them. When a image is dragged and dropped, even the thumbnail is transmitted in real-time to the other person. If the caption is changed, even that will be reflected in real-time. See the demo.


Google Wave can also be considered as a platform with a rich set of open APIs that allow developers to embed waves in other web services. They can also build new extensions that work inside waves. More information about the Google wave API can be found at Google wave API page.

Most of the features of Google Wave are developed as extensions. The following are some of these extensions.


Bloggy is an extension which acts like a blog client. Bloggy lets you make a blog post as a wave. These posts reflect the state of the wave in real-time and when people comment, they join the conversation and these conversations are immediately reflected in the wave and the blog post.


Spelly is an extension which acts as a spell-checker. Spelly not only compares the current word but it is contextual and checks the entire sentence before offering suggestions. It uses the entire corpus of the web as its dictionary.



Linky is a link-recognition engine that is clever enough to recognize that the link you just entered is a YouTube video, or a link to a photo, and give you the option to embed the target of the link into the wave.


Buggy is a bug-reporting tool. When Buggy is added as a participant in a wave, it can be used to file bug reports directly from the wave.


Polly is an extension which lets you to incorporate polls into a wave. In the wave shown below, participants are asked whether they can make it to a party. As soon as someone replies the responses appear immediately in the wave.


Game and Twitter Extension

There is an extension for embedding interactive games like chess in a wave and also an extension to integrate your tweets.



The Google Wave protocol is the underlying format for storing and sharing waves. This includes the “live” concurrency control, which allows edits to be reflected instantly across users and services. The protocol is designed for open federation, such that anyone’s Wave services can interoperate with each other and with the Google Wave service. This means that anyone can operate their own wave server and it can interoperate with other wave servers. To encourage adoption of the protocol, Google will open source the code behind Google Wave. More information about Google Wave protocol can be found from the site dedicated to wave protocol.


Hope I have given a good summary of the video. But in order to fully experience the “wow” movement, you must watch the video. I have embedded the video below.


Some useful links about Google Wave.


Screenshots and Video from Google.

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2 Comments so far

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  • JwK says:

    Thanks for the summary! I watched the vid a long time ago but same here, everyone asks you to explain and you know it takes at least 30 minutes.

    • Igor says:

      Thank you!! I gave up watching the video because it was too long. I have appreciated your summary because I was able to grasp what the Wave does.


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