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Mocking Eye

'Tis all in vain?

Google Wave and the Communication Facilitated by Operational Transformation

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Operational Transformation (OT) is the theoretical secret juice behind Google Wave. It is the technique that allows concurrent editing that resolves conflicts and prevents the need for edit locks and the like. At its core Google Wave is an extension of the XMPP protocol to support OT, with the sought after invites being for Google's official Wave server and its attendant web client. However, multiple clients and servers are not only possible, but desirable and planned. There's already PyGoWave for those interested. On top of this core there are several other things such as APIs for automated agents and the like. Some people were immediately struck by Google Wave and a few of the demos. However, most people were a bit confused about what it was and in what ways it is superior to e-mail, instant messaging and wikis. It was touted by its creators as a replacement to all of these, and I'm not convinced that is the case. The nature of Google Wave encourages the collaborative creation of prose in a dialectic style, once rather popular but I think a bit neglected these days. It allows the interactivity and most importantly tight coupling with other participants that media such as IRC and Instant Messaging allow but without the strong preference for terse expression. Google Wave, I hope, will lead to a resurrection of dialectical prose.