Google just announced/previewed Google Wave at their Google I/O developer conference today. While this new product is only available to developers now - public at the end of the year - it looks very promising. It appears to be a communication tool that brings together all the different technologies (email, IM, chat, blogs, wikis, video, etc) into one unified interface. It supports group and multiple conversations. This product seems to be targeted to the digital natives I have been talking about, supporting their ability to multitask their communications.
Wave encompasses more than e-mail. It matches or exceeds the functionality of several major application types, including instant messaging, discussion forum software, wikis, and blogs. Rather, it will eventually, as it moves toward commercial release later this year.
Google Wave is a product, a platform, and a protocol. It's a cross between conversation and document that allows users to do with one tool what they currently do with many. It works in a Web browser on the desktop or on mobile phones, like Apple's iPhone or Google Android devices.
Just as Ajax technology has blurred the identity of Web sites by allowing content to be embedded on any Web site, Wave blurs the distinctions between communications modes and between content creation applications.
Writing a Wave is a lot like typing text into Gmail, Google Docs, or a blog posting form in one's browser. To the left of the right-hand column featuring the discussion, there's an in-box with other Waves. And to the left of that, there's a navigation pane atop a list of contacts that looks very similar to Gmail's layout.