Google Wave is among the latest tools that people are dying to get their hands on. Invitations are exclusively doled out, and I’ve seen folks on Twitter raffling them off. Of course, that just builds up hype, and a lot of people don’t even know what Google Wave is – they just know they HAVE to have it. But is it vital to your business?
I haven’t wrangled an invitation yet – I admit I haven’t even tried. I’ve never been an early adopter of technology – I usually wait for the first round of bugs to be fixed before I jump into something new. So here’s what I’ve learned about Google Wave. A Wave is a combination of a document and instant messaging, and it can include a group of people. Folks can review a document and chime in with their thoughts, editing the doc along the way, and you can include video, photos and graphics. The whole Wave can be saved for later reference. As a business tool, Google Wave could be used for group projects, meetings and brainstorming, whether people are in the same office or off-site. It’s an open source code, so people can even develop their own features to suit their needs. Google Wave is expected to remain in development through the end of the year. Current users are encouraged to provide Google with reports on their experiences and any bugs they encounter. The reviews I’ve come across have been all over the place, from, “So confusing! I futzed around with Google Wave for about 30 minutes then gave up,” to “Woot! This is going to be a game changer.” While I like the idea of being able to hold a meeting entirely on a computer with everyone sharing in real time and then saving the whole thing, I can only imagine some companies with their non-tech-savvy staffs spending a lot of time just learning how to navigate Google Wave. Have you tried out Google Wave? What’s your experience been? Nerd cred: The name “Wave” was inspired by the short-lived Joss Whedon TV series “Firefly,” in which a wave was an electronic communication. The crash message for Google Wave is, “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal,” a “Firefly” quote. That right there might sell me on giving Google Wave a spin. Anyone have an invitation to spare? Shiny!