Google has unveiled a distributed, peer-to-peer collaboration and conversation platform called Wave. Several newsletter readers have written to suggest that the Wave may offer tremendous potential for genealogy projects, especially for group efforts when multiple people are working towards a common goal. This could be as informal as two cousins cooperating with their research efforts or as formal as a one-name society or a family society of 50 people or more working to document everyone of a particular surname or documenting all the descendants of a common ancestor.
Click on the thumbnail image to the left to see a larger image of a typical (non-genealogy) Wave.
Developers are being invited to join the open source project that has been formed to create a Google Wave Federation Protocol, which will underlie the system. Anyone will be able to create a 'wave,' which is a type of hosted conversation, Google has said. Waves will essentially incorporate real-time dialogue, photos, videos, maps, documents and other information forms within a single, shared communications space. Developers can also work on embedding waves into websites, or creating multimedia robots and gadgets that can be incorporated within the Google Wave client.
The service seems to combine Gmail and Google Docs into an interesting free-form workspace that could be used to write documents collaboratively, plan events, play games or discuss a recent news.
In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. It's concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content -- it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use "playback" to rewind the wave to see how it evolved.
More information can be found at http://googleblog.blogspot.com.
Is anyone reading this have Eastman ancestry and would be interested in creating an "Eastman Genealogy Wave?"