We haven't been invited to try out the Google Wave Preview (yet? pretty please Mister Google?), but based solely on the 80-minute demonstration video, we're jazzed about the upcoming product. Don't have 80 minutes? Gander at these eight 30-60 second clips that show off the best parts of Google Wave.
First the simple stuff. Google says Wave is what email would be if it were invented today, so it looks a whole lot like Gmail. But all editing and commenting happen on a single copy of a given wave (that is, message or document). You can comment on a wave below it, or inline. Check it out.
As-You-Type Live Updates Over the Internet Between Users
Thanks to the new HTML 5 standard and some client-server magic Wave has going on, you can watch your recipient live-type a response in your browser across the internet, much like instant messaging. (If that gives you the creeps, you'll have the option to disable live as-you-type updating.)
Wave Revision Playback
When you add someone to a Wave after it's been chopped up, commented on, and edited by others, that person can see the evolution of that wave using the super-cool playback feature. Imagine watching Wikipedia page revisions happen in sequence. Here's a taste of playback in Wave.
Like a group email you forward to an individual person to have a "private" conversation, you can restrict access to a sub-Wave to certain people.
Embed Waves into Web Pages
Bloggers will go nuts for this: you can embed waves in web pages and collect replies and edits to those waves in your Wave client, as well as on the page itself.
Live Collaboration on a Single Wave
Several people can edit a wave at the same time and watch one another's cursors dance across the page as it happens.
Live-Updating Search Results
Keyword search results live-update as others type, too.
This was the ultimate OMGPONIES! moment for me in the Wave demo. Using a natural language model, Google Wave's spellchecker makes smart corrections based on the context of your word. For example, Google Wave auto-corrects the sentence "Icland is an icland" to "Iceland is an island." (Guess all those billions of web pages can really come in handy.)
There was more cool stuff in the demo, but these were the main biggies for me. Since Wave is open source and extensible, surely we'll be seeing a lot more functionality when it's available later this year. Can hardly wait. See also lucky dog Rafe Needleman's Hands-on with Wave review for more.