It is an unusual and slightly refreshing feeling to sit in a technical computer presentation have no idea of what the presenter is talking about. The experts from Google Sydney who have developed the technology are giving an introduction for developers on how to use it. While the details of Java and Python APIs and the use of various techniques is familiar and by the end of the day I could probably code a Google Wave application, I am still having difficulty understanding what it is for. There are some glimmerings of understanding happening. One is that Google Wave robots (applications running out in the cloud) can manipulate the Wave data in XHTML format. Also there is an OpenSocial interface coming to allow for interaction with social networking services (or for building social networking services). These are of interest for my intended application in e-learning. This could be used to build web based services for students to interact with each other and the tutors. Even if it does not turn out Google Wave is not the technology for this (or more likely is more technology than needed) it might make a good prototype.
ps: On a less serious note, the first Google Wave presentation was illustrated with images of not very friendly or pretty looking robots. Ruth Ellison, head of WSG Canberra, gave a presentation The Uncanny Valley at BarCamp Canberra with more interesting robots.