Talking Tech Friday-Google Wave

I recently received an invitation to join Google Wave, so I thought I’d use this column as an excuse to figure it out.  I love having excuses!

What is it?

Google Wave is Google’s attempt to reinvent email as if it were just being invented today.  They call it a “hosted conversation.”  It’s more collaborative than email – when you start a wave (like sending a message), you can see your contacts reply in real time if they are online.  It’s like a combination of chat and email, with the added abilities of group editing and non-text embedding thrown in.

How does it work?

Google Wave is currently in preview version, which is only accessible by invitation at this time. I have 25 invitations to give out, so if you’re interested, leave a note in the comments with your email address and I will send you one.  Likewise, if YOU have invitations you’d like to share, leave a comment as well.

Once you accept an invitation, you start with 2 waves – one that tells you how you can invite others to join, and one that gives you some great tutorials on how to use Google Wave.  I highly recommend you check them out.

When you create a wave, anyone you include can edit it, even when you’re still creating it.  You can see changes in real time and any changes that were made while you weren’t online will be highlighted when you return.  This is really great for collaborating with others on a document: you can immediately see feedback and contributions, as well as being able to see what changes have been made while you were away from the wave.

Google Wave has “extensions” to include non-text content, such as pictures, videos, maps, and a “Yes/No/Maybe” poll embedded right in the message.  These extensions have an open API, so there will be many more available as people start developing them.  You can drag items from your computer or other websites and drop them into a wave – very easy!

There are also “robots” in Google Wave that allow you to automatically perform various functions in a wave.  A ‘bot looks like a regular contact, but when selected, they can do things like automatically translate text to another language, or view your Twitter timeline, update your status, or save a trending topic search.  There’s also a “Bloggy” bot that will publish a wave to your blog.

You can keep your waves private, or make them public.  Public waves can function like a chat room or discussion board – anyone can see it and contribute to it.  You can create a search to find public waves that are of interest to you.

Possible Library Uses

Like most social/collaborative services, it’s only as useful as the community you build on it.  However, I can see great potential for Google Wave if you could get all your coworkers or teams to use it.  You could group edit meeting agendas and minutes, co-write articles or policies, automatically add information to a library website or twitter feed, etc.  I anticipate some great things in the future with Google Wave!

Remember – leave a comment with your contact info if you’d like a Wave invitation!

Resources & Reviews

The Complete Guide to Google Wave (free web book written by Lifehacker authors)

~ by Anali on December 11, 2009.

2 Responses to “Talking Tech Friday-Google Wave”

  1. I’d like an invite;

  2. […] this is just because I just reviewed them, but I’m still pretty enamored with Springpad and Google Wave – I think they’re both going to prove very useful in the […]

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