Google Wave is a new real-time communication platform and the latest offering from the giants of search to be creating a buzz in the world of digital marketing and the wider world. More than email, texting, Twitter and Facebook combined (according to Google that is) – in a nutshell it’s a ‘wave’ of threaded conversations including the history of all conversations you’ve ever had with that person.

Sounds simple, but in fact it is as complex as it is impressive, as far-reaching as it is addictive. Well, that’s if Google themselves are to be believed; the jury is out in geek-world while the communication tool has its beta launch. So what’s so special and is it going to make you catch the Google Wave?

Wave combines elements of instant messaging, email, sharing and social networking to create an in-browser communication tool. It enables you to bring together colleagues or friends to chat, share files, plan a meeting or manage a project. The most obvious innovation is the real-time aspect within a platform of this sort: in most instances you will see people type character by character. Other key features include a Wiki-like ability for anyone to edit any conversations or information within a wave (seeing as all conversations are shared) and the ability to add applications and extensions, just like Facebook and the iPhone.

Some of the most important features of Google Wave for businesses is the drag-and-drop file sharing. No more need for cumbersome attachments; simply drag and drop the file into the Google Wave and your team have instant real-time access to the same documents, no matter where they are (no more “it must have gone into my Spam folder” excuses!). Also, there is the embeddability aspect of Google Wave: it can be embedded into any website or blog. Google intentionally made Wave open source, so that developers can adapt the platform themselves.

This is just one more firm foot in the direction of a real-time, interactive Web 2.0 world, where businesses big and small will need to have digital dialogue with their customers to thrive. So perhaps when Google waves, you should think about waving back.