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Google Wave: Testers line up for the love-in

100,000 sea dogs get early splash around

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Google is inviting 100,000 testers to preview its hippie-on-stilts communications platform - Wave - from today.

Mountain View has extended its testing pool in preparation for pushing Wave out to many more users at some point soon. For now, though, Google isn’t revealing when the platform will be pumped out to the mainstream.

Instead it’s simply repeating the fact that Wave “isn’t quite ready for prime time”.

The company unveiled its new-age web platform at its I/O developer love-in back in May this year.

Wave crossbreeds email with IM and document sharing, and exhibits a particular talent for near real-time interaction.

In order to plump up usage of the platform, Google has already declared its intentions to open source Wave's underlying protocol as well as a big heap of its client and server code.

Following the project’s launch, Google pointed out in a blog post yesterday that wrinkles still needed to be ironed out of Wave before the platform is made available to everyone.

Google’s engineering manager Lars Rasmussen and group product manager Stephanie Hannon said its developers had been working on scalability, stability, speed and usability over the past few months.

“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,” they said.

Meanwhile, Wave is still missing a few key features such as draft mode, user permissions configuration and group definitions. All pretty integral stuff, you might agree, for a platform that isn’t dressed in orange and chanting with drums and cymbals quite yet.

Rasmussen and Hannon noted that all of those features are expected to be added to Wave over the next few months, but again was unable to be any more specific with its roadmap.

Separately, Hannon wrote on a blog post for developers that Google was mulling ways of making money from a wave extension store, presumably in the mould of Apple's Apps store.

"To help foster a strong developer ecosystem, we're exploring plans for a monetisable wave extension store," she said. ®

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