Google recently started sending out invites to those of us who couldn’t wait to get our hands on it. Wave was designed to re-imagine e-mail. The developers were trying to figure out what e-mail would look like if it were invented today.
I got my copy of the Google Wave preview a couple weeks ago, and so far I am pretty happy with it. It is still very clearly in “preview” mode, a departure from a standard Google protocol. Typically Google releases ready-to-go software. The preview mode has a lot of bugs and quirks, but this is to be expected.
Google Wave allows you to collaborate in real-time with anyone you would normally e-mail. You can see chat messages as they are typed, share documents in real-time, embed Waves into presentations and web sites, and more. The possibilities continue to expand. Those familiar with Google Docs should be familiar with the collaboration features. By sharing a document, multiple users could have the same document open and can edit any piece that they need. After a brief delay, the content shows up for all the collaborators to see. Wave is designed to reduce this gap, and show updates as they happen.
So, what can Google Wave do? Lots of things. One way we are testing it out is the ability to paste a Wave into a web page. The following image shows a Wave I started.
In this Wave I simply added a title and embedded a gadget that allows users to share files in real-time, and even browse the web together with the same browser, all while in a video chat setting. We had tested it earlier, but this time we wanted to see it in a web page.
This is what the Wave looks like in the School of Law website. Now that this Wave is embedded, I can type anything I want into the Wave and it updates both locations. Anything I type from my Wave account will show up on the web page, and anything from the web page will show up on my Wave account. I think this feature is pretty cool.
So what else can Google Wave do? There are a number of tools already available for Google Wave. There is a simple survey tool, a map, and even a Sudoku Wave. You can play chess, connect-4, and a number of other games, all with real-time chat. You get to see the chat text as it is typed. A number of the better programs are only available to those who participated in the development sandbox. Hopefully these will be officially launched soon.
For those of us who have been excited about Wave all summer, we were able to watch an 80 minute video introducing us to Wave. They have since made a condensed version, only 10 minutes long. Much better for those who don’t have 80 minutes to spare. Here is the video:
As Google Wave continues to mature and develop, the SOLIS team is looking forward to seeing what the future will bring. Wave has the potential to revolutionize collaboration among social groups, as well as business. Who knows, maybe even the legal community will give Wave a try.
Update: For anyone that has a Wave Preview account you will see a sample embedded Wave. Those who don’t, please pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, or Google’s login page for that matter.
Update: The embedded Wave was making the blog jump down to the Wave login so we temporarily removed it. When Wave is out of preview mode we will re-enable it.