03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

What Is Google Wave? Early Users Preview Google's 'Magical' New Tool

What is Google Wave?

"Magical," if you believe its engineers.

"The Segway for email," according to blogger Anil Dash.

"Overhyped," writes Robert Scoble.

Harder to get into than a New York club on a Saturday night, buzzes the blogosphere.

"I am not loved! I need a google wave invite to be complete!" one user Tweeted (follow the invite chatter at #googlewaveinvite). In the expanded phase of testing, only 100,000 users received invitations to try the new product, although more than 1 million signed up, according to CNET.

But the question remains: just what is Google Wave? And what can it do for you?

The short answer is this: Google Wave is a web-based communication and collaboration tool that blends e-mail, instant messaging, and social networking. The official Google Wave page describes the Wave as live, shared, and half-document/half-conversation.

This video -- which introduces the 3.5% of what Google Wave can do -- helps:

So will it really revolutionize email and e-communication, redefining the way work, talk, write, and interact on the web? Invites are still going out and reviews are trickling in, but so far, the sentiment is no.

Anil Dash argues the app's greatest strengths may also be its Achilles heel:

The fundamental Wave protocols are, I fear, a bit too complex to ever be fully and correctly implemented by anyone other than Google.

We'll be following the Google Wave discussion on Twitter at #googlewave, and updating HuffPostTech with feedback and reviews from around the web. Facebook has also been abuzz with Wave excitement, with 112 "Google Wave" groups at most recent count.

Be a part of the conversation and tell us what you think. Have you tried the Wave, seen it, or watched a preview? Would you use it or lose it? Comment below!

Feeling left out? For info on how to score one of the coveted invitations, see here.

Also check out this step-by-step intro to the Wave, or read more about it here.