Google set to roll out Wave to 100,000 early users

Select group will get a first glimpse of Google's new communication, collaboration tool

Google Wave, Google Inc.'s highly anticipated communication and collaboration tool, is one big step closer to its first customer shipment.

In a blog post today, Lars Rasmussen, an engineering manager, and Stephanie Hannon, a group product manager at Google, said the company is inviting about 100,000 users and developers to preview the new technology. The users and developers will get the invitations tomorrow, they said in the post.

The Google bloggers acknowledged that Google Wave, which was unveiled this past May, still isn't ready for prime time. But, they added, the developers are now ready to get some feedback on the current iteration of the tool.

"We'll ask some of these early users to nominate people they know also to receive early invitations -- Google Wave is a lot more useful if your friends, family and colleagues have it too," wrote Rasmussen and Hannon. "This, of course, will just be the beginning. If all goes well we will soon be inviting many more to try out Google Wave."

The Web-based Google Wave application is designed to consolidate features from e-mail, instant messaging, blogging, wikis, multimedia management and document sharing. Using social networking-like interfaces, the tool should enable collaboration and community-building applications.

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