A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to receive my invite to use Google Wave. In this article I will examine the basic features of Wave. If you would like further information on how to use/features of Google Wave then I recommend you read ‘The Complete Guide to Google Wave’.
Google Wave is an application that allows users to communicate with each other through a series of Waves. A single Wave is a window which may contain content and conversation. It is best to compare Google Wave against email. Each Wave hosts a page where two or more users may indulge in conversation. Whereas email gets sent to multiple recipients, a single window in Google Wave is viewed by all recipients. This window can be conversed upon and holds a central point for individuals to communicate with each other. This is unlike email which sends multiple copies of the same message out and relies upon separate replies.
It is possible for individuals to create their work using Google Wave. Working as a team online has never been easier as each user can contribute to a document in real time. As a message is typed it is possible to see each key stroke. Clicking off a message will result in the added details to a document to be highlighted next time you select.
Along with this feature is the ability to media into the body of the Wave. Gone is the day of attachments, it is now possible to just view images, video, maps, graphs and diagrams in the body of a message.
When documents get very large it is difficult to understand how the conversation or document unfolded. To tackle this problem Google Wave features a playback option. It is then possible to playback the conversation or document creation.
With these features it is clear to see that Google Wave is an extremely useful tool for when planning in business.
Google Waving it
In the last few days I have managed to have a proper fiddle with Google Wave. When you log onto Google Wave you get taken to your inbox.
As you can see we have a three column design. On the left features a small navigation menu and my even smaller contact list. In the centre of the screen is my inbox and to the right is space for a Wave window.
When you open or create a Wave the window fills the right part of the screen which was previously unfilled. In my case I have opened up a conversation which I was having with my friend Emma this morning.
The conversation imitates the layout of a forum but with the bonus of replying separately to an individual post. As of yet I have not managed to have a conversation on Google Wave with more than one other person. So my conversations have so far just been simply trailing downwards.
Adding media to a Wave has never been easier. The picture seen in this show was moved across by simply dragging and dropping from my Windows XP ‘My Pictures’ file. Picture was taken at Mevagissey Harbour in Cornwall. What do you think??
A feature of Google Wave which in practice is usually missed is the possibilities of plugins, more accurately described as apps. In this preview of Google Wave there are only a handful of apps to choose from. A couple of apps I have installed include a feature to hyperlink Twitter usernames and a wikipedia bot.
Not the most overly exciting apps considering Google promised multiplayer games but we can expect that in the future. It is worth adding that the majority of the apps created will likely be constructed by the clever developer public. Although even the developers haven’t had that long to play around with Wave.
Social networking uses?
There seems to be a speculation that Google Wave will be the next social networking giant. In its current stage, the preview stage, Google Wave does have its problems. There is a lack of applications, the system is far from stable and the most that can be done is conversation and possibly document creation. However, it is very likely that in the future Google Wave has the potential to be a different sort of social networking website.
It could be a website that allows users to connect with each other on a very human scale. The possibility to arrange meetings, parties, play games, send serious messages or just the occasional naughty talk without getting social boundaries overlapped. This is the problem with current social networking websites. They do not recognise that people act differently depending on their social environments. Google Wave could very well fix this problem, a problem which I know exists for the older members of sites such as Facebook. Considering that the average age on Facebook now is over 40 I reckon Google Wave has got a bright future ahead of it. It is not really possible yet to say how Google Wave would fit into a social media campaign. We need to wait a few more weeks for Wave to develop before we can do that.