Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wave of change

I thought I could say a few words about Google Wave. This is one of the newest large scale project from Google that in my opinion will change/improve the way of communiccation as we know it today.  
(Note on "newest": In fact Google Wave was announced in May 2009 and the preview was launched in the second half of 2009, but as they say: Everything is new for an infant...)

In short:
Google Wave is an online platform for communication and collaboration in real time. At the first glance it looks like a hybrid between email and chat, but it is much more.

The real strength of the Wave is in the various gadgets that could be installed with one click, which greatly help you to reshape the Wave according to your needs. Need to organize a meeting or do a quick poll among your friends where to meet for a beer? Brainstorm session at your working place? Organize your thoughts via a Mind map? No problem! With Google Wave you get everything in one package!

It is interesting to see how this platform evolves before our eyes. Some time ago we started a brainstorming session (picture above), how Google Wave could be used in education. Now anybody can start a brainstorming wave using a neat template already explaining the basic rules. (btw. This wave is now public, so if you have some ideas, feel free to share them. You will need a Google Wave account for this.)

There are many more features that I can't and even don't want to cover in this post. You could check them out personally on the two Youtude videos embeded below, or going to the Getting started... help page where you will be filled with the basics. They also have an official blog to announce new features. But as always a simple Internet search will tell you what you want to know.

To be honest there are also some difficulties using the Google Wave.
You need a Google account to sign in - this is not a big surprise to be honest.

As it is a relatively new project the number of people with access is limited. You can't get a group of people online immediately. There are a limited number of invitations, but these does not arrive immediately after sending. As the developers say: "We have a lot of stamps to lick." Personal maximum was 1 week, minimum only 10 minutes. You can also request invitation by yourself. This is how I got mine after several days of waiting. This issue will likely purge after some time as it gone now for Gmail.

There are also some technical issues, like occasional crashes and inability to use any kind of web browser.

But if you sum it up, the "pro"s of using it exceed the "contra"s by far.

See you on the Wave! Ahoy!

Update: As of 18th May 2010 Google Wave is available for everyone. Hurray! :)
Update 2: The length of the post shows how enthusiastic I was about this topic at the time. Unfortunately Google shut down the project triggering a massive "Google Wave is dead" - wave on the Net. But the good news is that the Apache picked up the idea. So let's hope for the best.

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