Carnegie Mellon University

Seth Covitz

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Developing the new Google Wave

Seth Covitz (CS'96)

When a friend bet Seth Covitz (CS'96) he couldn't get hired at Google and dared him to apply for a job, Covitz accepted the challenge.

Today, Covitz is a software engineer at Google developing Google Wave. Google Wave is an online tool that combines live conversation with documentation. It's one of the most talked about tech developments in years — with some speculating it will eventually replace email.

Wave users can add richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps and more to their conversations. It's as simple as copying-and-pasting a link or dragging-and-dropping a file. It's also possible to edit any part of a wave at any time, bring new participants into an existing wave, and playback the wave to see what's already been said.

"We're really looking to change the world and help teams and companies be more productive. Collaboration and coordination are the heart and soul of Google Wave," said Covitz.

There are numerous uses for Wave. (Watch a tutorial video.)

It can serve as an efficient meeting place for businesses, allowing many people to come together to share information and files in real time. From a social standpoint, it can help users coordinate parties or events, share photos and play interactive games.

"Another great thing about Google Wave is the ability to add extensions. You can add very intelligent robots to help you with what you're doing," Covitz explained.

For example, Polly Robot lets you create a poll to send to people and then stores the answers; Complety Robot runs a Google search API and replaces every "???" in your text with a suggested word; and Graphy Robot presents your numbers and equations in graph form. Find more API Robots.

"Right now we're just scratching the surface of what Google Wave is going to be," said Covitz. "Eventually there will be an extensive set of features, and I think people will be surprised and pleased to see them."

Covitz acknowledges that the skills he developed at Carnegie Mellon help him succeed at Google on a daily basis.

"Carnegie Mellon is a very challenging environment, and it really gives you the skills to teach yourself new things and figure things out on your own," said Covitz. "That was a tremendous benefit that's helped me throughout my career at Google — where there are a million new things to learn every day."

Right now people can sign up for a Google Wave invitation or get one from a friend who was among the first to wave. Covitz promises more invites will be coming soon.

Related Links: School of Computer Science  |  Google Wave  |  Google Wave Invitations