Today, CNN had an article about the Google Wave and its beta release tomorrow.

At first, it might not seem like this release is particularly related to the library field, but it is. Google hopes that the Wave will revolutionize the way people use the web. Here is a short description from the Google site- “Google Wave is an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. A wave can be both a conversationĀ and a document where people can discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more”

I think the key for this new platform is “collaboration”. Facebook, Delicious, Twitter and other web 2.0 sites have really taken advantage of web users desire to network and collaborate with others. Its about time that an email application got into the game.

Another quote that interested me, this one from the CNN article, says “e-mail (currently) is a computer version of snail mail. Wave will be something new, a real-time communication system designed specifically for today’s faster-paced, multitasking Internet”

So what will happen to other “snail mail”-like applications if the Wave succeeds? I would consider most online catalogs (OPAC’s) and databases to be similar to snail mail. They are old technology. They cannot be updated or edited by users. There is no collaboration.

Users are beginning to expect and desire the ability to collaborate and edit the web resources that they use. There has been a lot of talk about how OPAC’s and databases are not user friendly. STILL. Even though web 2.0 technologies have been around for several years now.

Its a call to change.

Check out the full articles in the links above!