Touted by many as the next step in the evolution of email, Google Wave, currently still in beta testing, is a real-time multi-user communication and collaboration tool that has taken the tech industry by storm. It was only moments after the tech industry received their first peek at Wave back in late May that the hype over Google’s latest innovation began to spread. Over the past few months it has only grown: as I write this, coveted Google Wave invitations (sent only to 100,000 developers, who were then given the option to invite 5 friends each) are being sold on eBay and Craigslist.org. “WaveInvite” is currently a trending topic on Twitter and technology news sites are coming out with early reviews nearly once per hour.
But a fact of which many people might not be aware is that online communication and collaboration tools have been around for the better part of a decade. A quick search turned up literally dozens of potential Wave competitors, so why the buzz? Does it really do a better job or is it just because it’s being pushed by Google that it’s garnering so much attention? Read on for the answers to these questions and an introduction to a few collaboration tools that you can use, right now, and without needing one of Google’s golden tickets.