The hype around Google Wave has been somewhat lost after the announcement of Chrome OS but given it aims to revolutionise how we use email and comes from the brains behind Google Maps we should sit up and pay attention - especially now...
The search giant has confirmed that public beta testing will begin in the next two months:
"We plan to start extending the Google Wave preview beyond developers on September 30th," said Google Wave product manager San Peterson. "This will take place on wave.google.com rather than the separate "sandbox" instance we are currently using, and we plan to involve about 100,000 users. In addition to the developers already using Wave, we will invite groups of users from the hundreds of thousands who offered to help report bugs when they signed up on wave.google.com."
For those not in the know about Google Wave, here is a basic refresh. It was first announced on 27 May at the Google I/O conference and aims to do away with all the separate forms of communication we currently use (email, IM, blogs, social networking, etc) and roll them into a single platform. Google refers to it as "What Might Email Look Like If It Were Invented Today."
In essence then Google Wave works in threads known as Waves where all forms of content are grouped by user/contact groups not type. Information is handled in real time and cross collaboration on documents and presentations can be witnessed each key stroke or mouse click at a time.
The platform is open source and the API has been available to developers since May allowing them to build tools such as WordPress plug-ins, games and more. This is just scratching the surface however so I'd advise you check out the Google Wave video presentation which is available below. It's 1 hour 20 minutes long, but really worth it.
Oh and another reason to like Google Wave: its name comes from Joss Whedon's Firefly series which referred to a 'wave' as "an electronic communication" - or as a Google developer put it: "e-mail on crack".
Google Wave Blog Post