Google Wave mixes e-mail, IM and other web feeds
Industry experts have given a broadly positive reaction to Google Wave.
Still in development, Google Wave is a browser-based tool that mixes e-mail, with Instant Messaging and real-time online collaboration elements.
Harry McCracken, of Technologizer.com, wrote: "It's one of the most ambitious services that Google or anyone else has cooked up".
Google Wave is currently only open to developers interested in building applications for the tool.
Google Wave co-creator Lars Rasmussen wrote on the official Google blog: "A wave is equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
"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."
The technology has been described as e-mail for the 21st Century, a rival to Twitter and to Microsoft's collaboration software, Sharepoint.
Jordan Golson, writer for GigaOm.com, said Google had a poor track record of making a business out of any of its products, other than search.
"Maybe it will work. Maybe Wave will take over the world. But, with the notable exceptions of Gmail and search ads, Google has a poor track record with product launches. It is really, really good at vanity exercises, though."
MG Sieglar, a reporter for Techcrunch, said the tool "drips with ambition".
He wrote: "Wave offers a very sleek and easy way to navigate and participate in communication on the web that makes both e-mail and instant messaging look stale."
The announcement of Wave, together with the development of tools like Twitter and Friend Feed, point to the genesis of the real-time web, in which communication, search, collaboration, and the bridge between offline and online blurs into a contemporaneous mix.
Ben Parr, from Mashable.com, who tested a preview of Google Wave, said: "Our initial impression of Google Wave is a very positive one.
"It's already got certain aspects, like navigation, absolutely right. With some great third-party apps and greater customization, Google Wave could actually match its hype."