Google starts making Waves

Google has opened up its Wave service to around 100,000 users, as the service creeps closer to a full public launch.

Google starts making Waves

Announced earlier this year, Google Wave is a hybrid of email, instant messaging and Twitter-style microblogging, all combined in a single interface. Google has rather presumptuously referred to it as both “the new email” and the “next step in online communications”.

Google Wave is being pitched as both a social networking service and a business collaboration tool. The company hopes that widening the net further with this closed beta will bring forth new uses for Wave.

Google admits that Wave still has a way to go before it’s ready for general release, even despite the company’s well-renowned affection for everlasting betas. “Google Wave isn’t quite ready for prime time. Not yet, anyway,” says engineering manager, Lars Rasmussen, on the Google blog.

“Since first unveiling the project back in May, we’ve focused almost exclusively on scalability, stability, speed and usability. Yet, you will still experience the occasional downtime, a crash every now and then, part of the system being a bit sluggish and some of the user interface being, well, quirky.”

Neither is Wave feature complete at this stage. “You can’t yet remove a participant from a wave or define groups of users, draft mode is still missing and you can’t configure the permissions of users on a wave,” Rasmussen adds. “We’ll be rolling out these and other features as soon as they are ready — over the next few months.”

Invites to the service are being sent to 100,000 users who applied to join the beta. Google will allow some testers to invite extra friends, so they can collaborate with people they know during the beta test.

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