Google Waves Goodbye to Email: I don’t know what you’d really call this. A real-time wiki?
I’m just really skeptical of anything that supposedly “gets rid of email.” The only reason this gets a second look is that Google is behind it.
A user starts a “wave,” a new thread in the system. At first, it looks just like an e-mail. A wave usually starts as text, but photos can be dragged in, and videos or maps can be embedded. The user invites friends by dragging and dropping names from a list of contacts in a sidebar. New users can start leaving comments in line, setting a break point in the original text and adding a comment directly below the paragraph, photo or whatever piece of the wave they want to comment on. There’s even a built in spell-checker that’s context-sensitive.