Google Wave is not that easy to figure out, even with an hour-long video from Google itself (above). (Via YouTube)
Google has done something quite amazing this week: it has created a hysteria for a product that people want, even if they don't know exactly what it is.
Google Wave is an online app that combines aspects of e-mail, instant messaging, the kind of collaborative editing you'd find on Wikipedia, document sharing and other info-rich features. At least, I think that's what it is. Like millions of curious others, I still haven't tried it out for myself, although this article on Lifehacker (with helpful screen grabs) explains Wave better than any other I've seen to date.
Unfortunately, Google has limited who can check it out to 100,000 invites it sent out to people who applied for a shot at the early look months ago (primarily developers who would build upon Wave by the time it gets to a wider audience).
A market of demand has emerged, with desperate Twitter users (apparently bored with Twitter itself) begging for a Google Wave invite, retweeting accounts that likely aren't affiliated with Google for a chance at one and even trolling eBay for a coveted invitation to the service. Announcing on a social network that you have a Google Wave invite has become an online victory lap performance akin to the dance-and-squeal American Idol contestants do when they find out they're going to Hollywood for the semifinals.
Google Wave is certainly intriguing, but people need to calm down. It'll get here soon enough to inundate the masses with information overload and to destroy (or enhance!) the world's productivity, depending on how many of us figure out how to properly ride the Wave.