Google Wave 2- The Platform

Articles on Google waves is flooding the web, trying to bring out a deeper understanding on this wave renaissance. There is so much of expectation generated now as people are anxiously looking forward to get their hands on it. With the little information revealed by Google, let us try to figure out something more on how this is going to work. In Google wave 1 we discussed about Google waves as a product. This time let us view Google waves in the perspective of a developer, that is, Google waves as a platform.

What is a platform?

Platform in software realms can be understood as an entity on which software can be made to function. A platform provider will provide APIs (Application Programming Interface) for software to be developed in his platform. Let’s take a few examples: Java, the product of Sun Microsystems serves as a platform and it comes with APIs like AWT, JDBC, JMF and so on. These APIs are also provided by Sun Microsystems. Apple Inc, owner of iphone had APIs confidential until October 2008 when the company open sourced and made it license free to develop software applications to be run on iphone. Lately, there is facebook API which is both powerful and popular.

What about Google API?

Google has promised to come up with a public API which can be used by any developer to create applications that run on the wave platform. There are 2 ways by which a developer can make his presence felt in Google waves. The first method is by building robots or creating gadgets. The other method is by embedding waves on third party websites. Let’s try to get some insight on these new terminologies.

Robots, Gadgets and Embed API

Robots are automated participants in a wave. Remember the robot in ‘Lost in Space’. It is a similar kind of simulation except that these robots will function inside the computer. A robot created inside a wave will be able to read, modify and delete blips and wavelets. A wavelet is a smaller wave that is resident inside a wave and a blip resides inside a wavelet. The diagram below will give you better picture.

The developer can create robots and perform interactive operations within a wave. What are the interactive operations? Well, that is left to the creativity of the developer. Learn more about robots here. Wave Gadgets are similar to the ordinary gadgets in its mechanism to get embedded as third party development applications. But there is more offered. A wave gadget can function within a live wave. An example Google gives to explain this is one which lets participants of a wave to vote on where to go for lunch. Learn more about gadgets here.

The second method using Embed API enables to bring waves into third party websites. There will be simultaneous updates in websites as and when an update is made inside a wave. Google has already come up with a few embeds. ‘You tube playlist discuss’ is one among them and is sure to gain so much popularity.  Learn more about embed APIs here.

As Facebook is dominating now with so much integration, it is certain that we can expect even more from Google waves. So if you are a developer, be informed about what is going on in Google waves and get ready to play with the tools as soon as you get them.

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