Something that’s come to my attention very recently is Google Wave – Google’s reinvention of e-mail/instant messaging/collaborative editing/blogging/discussion boards etc. into one combined platform. The name still sounds a bit ominous to me, you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen the film “Die Welle” – I was initially concerned that Google would be trying to route all forms of conversation through its servers for advertising targeting purposes. However, my fears are tempered for now as it seems that Google Wave will be a completely open source platform that can be installed on any server. Apparently no messages need to go near a Google server, but I guess we are still at the early stages of its development and implementation.
Looking at the announcement video (embedded below or available from the Google Wave website), the concept does look very impressive and I can see all sorts of potential benefits for elearning and academic research. Especially, if the server side technology can be hosted in house. The first 30 minutes of the video are enough to get an idea of what it does and how it works. Alternatively, Wilbert at CETIS provides a more thorough description of the technology and its potential applications, advantages and disadvantages.