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Google Wave, collaboration on steroids.


Written by:
2009/10/20 09:06 AM RssIcon

Google-Wave The latest craze on the internet now is Google Wave. People all around the internet are scrambling to get Wave invites to test and preview the latest from the internet giant, Google wave. In fact, there’s been so much buzz that you might just not have enough time to read the thousands of articles being released on Google’s biggest product launch in recent memory.

The only way you can test and preview Google Wave is to get a Wave invite. When Google first announced the product you were able to register for an invite. When Google Wave was finally let loose on the public, Google decided to only invite a limited, selected, privileged few. Those few would get eight (8) invites where they could invite their friends to try out Google Wave. Needless to say Google Wave invites became the hottest new commodity and they were like hens teeth to find.

I was one of those select few that got an invite. Don’t ask me how or why, but I do feel important, if only for a little while. I headed over to get my Google Wave Account to test it out. This post is more about my experience, views and thoughts on Google Wave. Because there are hundreds if not thousands of posts on Google Wave all over the internet, I am not attempting to go into too much detail.

What is Google Wave?

The best description is probably from those who have the vision, Google: “Google Wave is an online communication and collaboration tool that makes real-time interactions more seamless -- in one place, you can communicate and collaborate using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

A wave is a conversation with multiple participants -- participants are people added to a wave to discuss and collaborate on its content. Participants can reply any time and anywhere within a wave, and they can edit content and add more participants as a wave develops. It's also possible to rewind waves with the playback functionality, to see what happened, and when.”

Literally Google Wave is IM, email, Facebook, Twitter, Google Docs, Collaboration, IRC Chat, forums all rolled into one and on steroids. Google Wave is a new model for communication and collaboration on the web.

What is a wave?

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.

A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

What does Google Wave do?

Google Wave has lots of very nice and cool features. Here are but a few, thanks to Mashable for summarizing this. Check out the excellent summary and Google Wave guide on Mashable

  • Real-time: In most instances, you can see what someone else is typing, character-by-character. You can interact with wave gadgets and applications live, while others are doing the same.
  • Embeddability: Waves can be embedded on any blog or website.
  • Applications and Extensions: Just like a Facebook application or an iGoogle gadget, developers can build their own apps within waves. They can be anything from bots to complex real-time games.
  • Wiki functionality: Anything written within a Google Wave can be edited by anyone else, because all conversations within the platform are shared. Thus, you can correct information, append information, or add your own commentary within a developing conversation.
  • Open source: The Google Wave code will be open source, to foster innovation and adoption amongst developers.
  • Playback: You can playback any part of the wave to see what was said.
  • Natural language: Google Wave can autocorrect your spelling, even going as far as knowing the difference between similar words, like “been” and “bean.” It can also auto-translate on-the-fly.
  • Drag-and-drop file sharing: No attachments; just drag your file and drop it inside Google Wave and everyone will have access.

How can Google Wave help you?


Out of all the questions that have been asked about Google Wave, besides “What is Google wave?”, the most asked is “What can Google Wave do for me?”, “How can I benefit from Google Wave?”.

Well as I have been testing and reading about Google Wave on the internet, I have come across and thought of some great ideas.

Google wave and Education – In South Africa and many parts of the world education is a priority amongst government, business and individuals. Can you imagine a teacher, professor or lecturer helping, collaborating with their students on projects, assignments, questions. Imagine students collaborating with each other, helping each other out. Sharing documents, ideas, correcting, inserting, deleting information. With Google Wave you can build a more interactive learning environment.

Google Wave for business – Google wave is ideal for small and large businesses alike allowing them to interact with their customer base. Show off and preview new products, answer questions or get help. On the Google wave forums, the biggest idea of Google Wave’s use was for Customer support. Here is a summarised list of possible uses.

  • Sending trouble tickets
  • Incident tracking can be a wave
  • Call centre analytics gadget
  • Distribution list gadget
  • Customer meta-data gadget
  • Surveys can be a wave

Google Wave for forums – Forums have been around for a while. Places where people can meet, interact, ask and answer questions. Forums have been pivotal in support and knowledge all over the internet. Imagine a forum that is live, interactive. Where your posts are actually waves, that can be threaded. It’s similar to IRC chat, but galactically better, with real time threads.

Andrew Camel in the Google Wave API Google Group says this:

So I thought that it would be an awesome feature of Google wave to have it power a forum. Each thread, instead of being multiple different posts, it would just be a Google wave. So, instead of having to try a discussion by posting and going back to the page and checking for new replies and while you were posting, you missed a new part of the discussion, you can post like you are having an instant-message session and you can also save the posts like forum threads. I really think that this would be a great use of the Google wave api.”

So what are your thoughts of the way Google Wave can be used? What is your idea for Google Wave? We want to hear your thoughts and your opinions in the comments.

Google Wave for friends and family – The world is a big place, but the web has made it so much smaller. There are so many ways to interact with friends and family all over the world. You do not have to travel. From email to Facebook and Twitter. Sharing and keeping in contact has now become so much easier and most of all fun. Live interaction with multimedia, photo’s, sound and voice, video and webcams. All this and more, as well as the ability to do all at the same time.

From playing interactive games to seeing the latest video of your grandchild, Google wave will revolutionise the way we keep in contact and interact with each other.

What are my thoughts on Google Wave?

Well, I think it is brilliant. I added a Google Wave Gadget to my Wave, Sudoku. Then invited a few friends. We had fun playing Sudoku interactively. Getting points for each correct placement. Three of us were playing the same game. Just a punt, I won. But the point is that it opened my eyes to immense possibilities. Sure games might not be work related, but as much as you might deny it the gaming industry has shaped the computer world for years.

My initial impression of Google Wave is a very positive one, I think it rocks, I see so much possibility. It really seems to focus on contacts – on people – which I think is what web 2.0, web 3.0 is all about. Social network tools like Facebook and Twitter have confirmed that it’s all about people, Google Wave takes it further.

Just like any Beta or preview product, there are a few bugs to iron out. Lets hope that this beta does not stay in beta as long as some other Google products did.

Below is the Google Video on Google Wave. Remember low bandwidth challenged dudes, it is 1 hour and 20 minutes long.


This next video is a lot smaller.

Related Reading:

Alternatives to Google Wave

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9 comment(s) so far...


Re: Google Wave, collaboration on steroids.

OK, I admit it. Although my post about Wave was on the web quicker than this one - yours is better! Nice work!

By Mike CJ on  2009/10/20 01:34 PM

Re: Google Wave, collaboration on steroids.

No invite for me yet...but I don't have time for another network. Looks interesting though.

By Nathan Hangen on  2009/10/20 01:57 PM

Re: Google Wave, collaboration on steroids.

It's getting hard to keep up with all of this new stuff that seems to be coming out monthly. What would be the top five social media platforms you recommend for bloggers?

By Gordie Rogers on  2009/10/20 02:01 PM

Re: Google Wave, collaboration on steroids.

Really good article, Robert.
I enjoyed the movie, eh, video as well. :-)
This Wave is going to be a very powerful tool.

By Jimi Jones on  2009/10/20 03:28 PM

Re: Google Wave, collaboration on steroids.

For web conferences you should try ,
Great for online teaching and collaborating. I use it for working on my designs with other in my field.
Its free and pretty simple - you just upload your file and invite others to view it together.
- Laura W.

By laura w on  2009/10/20 03:47 PM

Re: Google Wave, collaboration on steroids.

I think this is the beginning of another big jump forward in online collaboration tools.

By Tschet on  2009/10/20 04:04 PM

Re: Google Wave, collaboration on steroids.

Well written informative post. Thanks Robert! I got my invite today so will be playing around with it in the upcoming weeks and will most likely also blog about it.

By AntonRSA on  2009/10/20 05:11 PM

Re: Google Wave, collaboration on steroids.

Absolutely agree - it's live and it's open. But most of all it's collaborative, which means that when you combine it with the live/open aspects you potentially get a roaring hotbed of enthusiatic, entirely team-based, thinking. Fantastic for so-say blue-sky thinking and much, much more. Once we got going the guys I was waving with and I were having a blast.

By Jez Kay on  2009/10/20 10:52 PM

Re: Google Wave, collaboration on steroids.

Thanks for the information, Robert. Good Stuff. This is my first Wave read, but at first blush...

Possibly IT applications, but I'm a bit skeptical that this could be used as a collaborative design tool, except maybe on large projects where the design work on larger chunks can be split up. Call me old-fashioned, but too many cooks can...

I see some gains in Knowledge Management... Sort of a Wiki on steroids.. That might be interesting. Geographically separated teams might benefit a lot, too.

I'm hungry for more... anyone got an extra invite?

By Mike Marshall on  2009/10/21 04:01 AM
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