Seriously. I am in. You remember that I did not write that positive about Google Sidewiki. Well with Google Wave this is different.
It definitely pays off to be active in online forums. Last week one of this online friends asked,
“Anybody wants an invitation
into the \/\/ave?”
Since I was among the first who virtually had raised there hands I got one of those precious nominations and got in within a couple of days.
Usually I am not excited so much about becoming a beta tester of anything and Google calls the current stage of Wave a Pre-Beta. Sounds worse, doesn't it. But actually I am surprised it really feels great. I was not among those in the early rush for Gmail accounts. Started to use Gmail seriously not before 2009. But the loooooong video from Google presented Wave got me hooked immediately.
So now I am in. And I am even more excited. Let me tell you about a couple of prerequisites.
(1) Obviously you need an invitation currently.
Google wants to slowly build up a base of about 100,000 users and fine-tune their infrastructure as well as completing features that we have heard of in the video but not yet seen in the preview beta version.
That's what Wave can be like, right now, already. It's that good and fairly stable.
Forget “save” and “send”
You are permanently connected. What you do is recorded instantly.
Well, it happens that the browser forces a reload or even crashes from time to time, but I never lost any significant amount of data so far. At most half of a sentence.
Which brings me back to my “guilt”.
I was guilty of running Firefox 2.0 in November 2009. The wave interface loaded, I even could click around, but — this is critical — I could not write documents and messages or call it messages and documents. We will need to create a new word for this.
(2) You will need a modern browser.
Google recommends Firefox, Safari or Chrome. (I guess you could Internet Explorer with the Chrome add-on). To be exact
Chrome (latest edition)
So my first task was updating my browser to Firefox 3.5.5 (what a change!) and I actually installed Chrome on my Windows XP notebook too.
Later I found this cool plugin-for Firefox which displays the number of messages in your Google Wave inbox. You can configure the interval in which it polls the Wave servers. I think I have set it to 50 minutes.
Tip: Only because you have tools available that allow instant connections does not mean you need to allow that you are interrupted any second.
Waver - Compact Wave Client (↑) based on AIR platform for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
I use this one too. It's fairly amazing what this small client can do.
(3) How To Info
Every new technology comes with a bit of learning curve. The basics with wave are fairly simple to grasp. However, since this is a pre-beta-preview it can get confusing at times when you don't know if this is your fault or an undocumented feature.
In my opinion, all you need to get started quickly is this website:
I even wrote a short review of one of the third party provided Wave robots and linked to it from their Wiki. How cool is that.
If you are already on \/\/ave you can check out my Review of Groupy at this wave id: googlewave.com!w%252BU7_mO6ViG (↑). This short article also contains a link to a resource by Elliot Cable who explains how you can setup public or private groups on Wave right now. Yes, it's possible even without the final implementation of groups in Wave.
The First Impression Is A Damn Good One
I am still not so sure about rich text editors, I do a lot of editing and writing in a plain text editor at the beginning. And for some tasks plain text editors are the preferred way to go and will be in the future as well.
However, Google wave and its editor feels really, really good. I would love to see your face when you are editing a wave and all of a sudden somebody else on the other side of earth joins you and edits the same wave. You see how she is typing, she sees how you are typing. Then most likely you get into an instant chat inside the document.
So far wave is pretty stable. I cannot complain. Larger waves with more than 150 comments respond a little bit sturdy especially if they have a lot of gadgets embedded, but besides that you can really work fairly quickly. And don't need to worry about software crashes or having to save the document. It's all built in.
That's it, my first public praise and more to come.
There are tons of ways the \/\/ave will change the communication landscape for private and for business. I already correspond wit a lot of wavers who have pretty good ideas how to improve the users' benefit and to cash in at the same time. Since \/\/ave is a truly open platform I see opportunity almost everywhere. This is a game changer in the medium run.
John W. Furst
P.S.: No, don't ask me for invitations. I currently don't have any. If I'll get more I will eventually give some to my newsletter readers. Don't know how, if, or … no promises here. That means if you want one from me. Then sign up to my newsletter. Hurry.
(+) Google and Google Wave are trademarks of Google, Inc.
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Uh-oh. Regular comments feel so "dull" now. Not sophisticated at all.
Where ever you want to comment here or on the \/\/ave above.