Google Wave seems to be just about the hottest thing on the internet at the moment. People have been eagerly waiting that magic invite dropping into their inbox just so they can get onboard the Next Big Thing. Fortunately for me, I was lucky enough to receive an invite care of a fellow Tweeter (Twitter certainly has its advantages!). So what is Google Wave actually like?
Well, to be honest, I haven’t spent a great deal of time on it so far so I’m not really in a position to give a full and fair appraisal. That said, I’m still going to share some initial thoughts on it. The first thing I feel I should point out is that it is quite bewildering when you first start playing with it. When presented with the homepage (see image above), it took a little while to work out how it was supposed to work. That is maybe why Google recommends you watch a ridiculously long video before you even contemplate diving in (do you see what I did there?!). However, I did find this handy little video that talks you through some of the main features of Google Wave:
Although it is a little confusing to start off with, there is potential there for it to be a very useful collaborative tool. By inviting others to join you on a ‘wave’ you can work together on a shared piece of work or just communicate in real-time (a bit like MSN Messenger but you can actually see what they are typing as they type it). There are a number of gadgets that can be incorporated into ‘waves’ including Sudoku puzzles and chess. It is also possible to embed Google Maps which enables people on the same ‘wave’ to collaborate on a map (which is quite useful and very easily done). I think Mashable’s description of Google Wave sums it up quite nicely:
It combines aspects of email, instant messaging, wikis, web chat, social networking, and project management to build one elegant, in-browser communication client.
So pretty much all the best elements of Web 2.0 rolled into one.
It will be interesting to see how Google Wave develops over the coming weeks and months as more people get onboard. It certainly has great potential to be a very useful tool, as long as people are prepared to overcome the initial hurdles. I’ll certainly continue to play around with it and share more thoughts on it as time goes by. Hopefully I’ll be able to share something a little more comprehensive than this effort!
There is also a Complete Guide to Google Wave available that may also help with getting to grips with it.