Google Wave gadgets get second chance in Shared Spaces

Google Wave is scheduled to be closed at the end of this month. Luckily, there is a place to go for all the gadgets that were written for Wave – and it’s not gadget hell, but Shared Spaces.

Shared Spaces is a Google Labs product, and instead of centering around the conversation like Google Wave, Shared Spaces is more centered around a particular gadget. You can create a space around a map to collaboratively plan a trip, or around a mind map gadget to brainstorm about an idea.

The slideshow below shows a little about Google’s idea of a shared space:

It looks like Shared Space uses Google Buzz in the background. I’m also not sure if it’s possible to make Shared Spaces invite-only, or that anyone who guesses the URL can participate. I’ll let you know more once I’ve played a little more with it.

We used Google Wave in a conference call…

… and were mildly impressed.

We set up an agenda before the call started, and used that as our base document. It was then filled out as we discussed the various points, and comments were posted to capture remarks, questions and clarifications.

A couple of observations:

  • If your participants don’t have a Google account, you can’t add them with their regular Email address (even though that is somehow linked to their account), but you have to use their address.
  • The Ribbit plugin didn’t work.
  • There is a reluctance to edit other people’s blips. It seems to be more “polite” to comment on the blip and say that something isn’t correct than to go in and just edit the blip to correct it. Cultural thing – I’m sure it will change once more people have used Google Wave or even a Wiki.
  • It’s hard to make a comment in the conference call, and record it in the wave at the same time. However, a conference call is far superior in hammering out a discussion quickly. Maybe a designated typer would be an idea in a conference call?

We didn’t run into any software problems. There were 5 people on the call and the wave, and we never saw a slow-down or a crash. The only disappointment was the Reddit plugin, but that was easily overcome.

I think Wave is still looking for a good application. Minutes and collaborative documents seem the most obvious application, but I have the feeling there are more exciting applications for the Wave technique in the future.

Google Wave: Now What?

It’s been a couple of weeks now that I’ve had access to Google Wave, and sent out my invites. So, now what?

Well, it’s still fairly quiet. A lot of the people I sent invites to have the “What the hell is this?” reaction. A lot of the conversations that are going on are of the “hey, I’m on Google Wave – Wow, so am I!” variety. To be honest, I sometimes felt like I was using a preview of a chat client – until I was on the This Week in Google 15 wave (open your Google Wave client and search for twig or twig15).

In this wave a discussion developed on the Novell Pulse product that was announced. After seeing it mentioned, I googled around for a bit and found a demo video. During the video, the collaborative editing was demonstrated, and I remarked that it was missing the little balloons that show up when someone types within Google Wave. One of the other participants asked me for the link to the demon, I posted it, and he proceeded to incorporate all that into my original message. That was a really powerful moment to see what collaborative editing can look like.

Apart from that, there hasn’t been a whole lot of collaboration going on. I made some notes during a presentation where two colleagues had Wave invites, but they never collaborated on the notes. I guess the whole form is still a little foreign to most people; if you have edited a Wiki entry, you may have an advantage, but otherwise, you really have to have a good use case.

The big step for Wave will probably be the Federation server. I can see several applications of publicizing a wave within our company, but I don’t want to make that wave public to the whole world. I’m hoping Federation will give us that capability.

Another improvement (without criticizing the Google wave client) would be different types of clients to the Wave protocol. Novell’s Pulse is/could be one, but I think it would be beneficial if multiple clients appear (look what happened to the web browsers when Internet Explorer got competition from Mozilla (Firefox), Apple (Safari) and Google (Chrome)).

The next couple of months will be interesting for Wave’s development. I think a lot of people forget that we’re still looking at a Preview (not a Beta!). Once the Wave splashes down on more people, it will be more stable and mature. Until then it’s a test environment, with only occasional glimpses of its potential.

How to add a Google Wave to WordPress

This looks like a cop-out, but here is how you do it:
[wave id=”!w+9wEkpHp-B” bgcolor=”#000000″ font=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif” font_size=”11″ width=”500″ height=”700″]

Oh, and you need the Wavr plugin.

P.S. If you don’t see anything, you probably don’t have a Google Wave account. Which would make embedding a wave in your blog… ehm… difficult.

Google Wave invites going out tomorrow

Google Wave invites are slated to be sent out tomorrow to more than 100,000 people. As stated in their blog, these invites will go out to developers, users who have signed up and offered to give feedback, and select customers of Google Apps. Some of these invitees will be able to invite other people.

The blog post stresses that this is a beta test, and several features will still be missing from it. Also, the occasional downtime is to be expected.

Be that as it may, I’m hoping I can open my Inbox tomorrow and see a Wave invite. I think Google Wave may be like GMail: despite all the quirks and problems in the beginning, in a couple of years people will panic if it’s down for an hour. Now, how do I set it up to be integrated with my blog…?