Google recently launched to 100,000 users a new service called Google Wave. The search giant refers to it as a new service that aims to kill e-mail and change forever the way we work.
And how are they planning to do it? Easy – they have developed a communication tool that takes the best from every service – including e-mail and Twitter, for example – and got it all in one service. Furthermore, Google has designed it in a way that has enough “wow” factor to make people excited about using it. Want to share a video inside a wave? Just copy and paste it. Want to put images? Just drag and drop them! WOW! Music, graphics, you name it. And all literally at the push of a button.
But let’s take a hands on view on this, shall we? Google Wave is also a productivity tool. And easily used by groups of people. Imagine you have a document and you need the input from several people, then you need some more people to translate it, some more to revise it, some more to put some images into it. Right now in the workplace, this is accomplished by e-mail. E-mails go back and forth and information get spread out in a long, often convoluted stream, people forget to copy everyone they should and input gets left out and, ultimately, someone has to wade back through the morass of information and sort it all out. Confusion is commonplace and details are often inadvertently omitted and/or overlooked.
Now let’s see how we do it with Google Wave: You just open a Wave (look at it as a private chat room). You invite all of those involved and ready to be a part of the process. Several people can be working at the same time on the document (you can actually see them typing), you can discuss it like in a chat room, you can insert images, videos and links. Want to add a new person to the project because you think they can bring some added value to the project? Just invite that person to that Wave and that all that person as to do to have a general overview of all the discussions that occurred up to that point is press the playback button. Bottom line, it’s real time communication and real time collaboration.
Let’s continue with this example: Imagine that two translators are working on a project and are not agreeing on a particular issue (this occurs often in my business). All they have to do is open a new Wave and maybe invite a person that can help them with their specific doubts and/or questions, without having to expose the whole project to a third party. Thus, their questions are answered, problems resolved and forward progress can continue.
The possibilities are endless: Organizing a conference? Open a Wave and tell all of those attending that they can make their comments and questions in that Wave: you will end up with immediate feedback of those that were there and something that you can use for future reference. Those attending will love it because they will have on that same Wave not only their own views and opinions, but the views and opinions of others that they can use to write on their own blogs, articles, etc.
Tweaking some CSS? Open a Wave, paste the code there and get coders from all over the world helping you. Talk about collaboration – and talk about making a project more efficient – this is a terrific example of just that.
Like any other tool, Google Wave is about how you use it and what you can take out of it. Maybe you are reading this and you are already thinking “Maybe I can use it for…”. If that is the case, but you are not sure if Google Wave is the tool for that, just drop a comment on this post and we can discuss it. In fact, we’ll even open a Wave and paste this post in there so that we can discuss it in that space, too.
At this stage, the service can still be frustrating to some users because it lacks some stability and new things are happening every day, without notice. It is constantly changing and new features are added almost on a daily basis. It’s important to remember that this Google Wave is currently in preview meaning it’s not even a Beta service and the whole point of this part of the process is experimentation and getting users involved to help determine best practices. If you are one of those that can’t cope with usability issues and/or have trouble adapting to change, which is a given, then you might be happier waiting until Google Wave is out of preview and into Beta before you begin experimenting and experiencing all that it has to offer. On the other hand, If you are adventurous and your thing is to be at the edge and being a part of that of a great new technology, you should get on it as soon as you can.
Here’s a Google Wave link – if you’re interested in taking this conversation to Google Wave and experimenting a bit more, follow this link
When you are there, give me a shout and I can direct you to some interesting waves that will help you get acquainted with all of it. Now go on, explore the Wave and have some fun!