If you aren’t already familiar with Google Wave, check out some basic info, and a very in-depth video here. Wave is a new project from Google that reinvents email communication. Forget everything you know about email, it was invented back in the 70′s, things have changed; technology is faster, we have cloud computing, web apps look fancier, and for a while, a large portion of email users are moving (back) to web based clients.
Email is the current method of communication and collaboration when working on a project. You usually have a folder for that project in Outlook, some rules to filter project related messages into that folder, and an email chain for each issue. People reply to messages inside that chain somewhere, the thread gets continued, people get added to the thread, people drop off. You don’t know where you are in the chain when you check in a few hours later, and you get bombarded by… STOP!
Wave is very early in its adoption, it’s invite only, but it has the strong potential to fix a lot of these problems. It can clean up a lot of the clutter of project communication and throw it on the cloud so you can get to it anywhere. Wave does need some more security built in for the corporate settings, but that is in the pipeline. Right now waves can only be private or public, but once inside a private wave, that user can invite anyone.
Some notes on how Wave can help a project:
- Each Project would get its own folder in wave
- Anyone working on the project would have access to this folder
- Every issue or conversation would get its own wave and everyone who needs to be involved in the issue is added to the wave.
- At this point every project related message is confined to the projects folder. No Outlook rules or message dragging will ever be needed. If a new person needs to be involved in the discussion, they are just added to the wave, no forwarding or reply-all.
- The conversation can continue similar to email, with individual replies, but it can be so much more. In line replies with related topics can appear right with the original topic, not hidden down 6 replies in an email chain
- You can show only new replies on the wave and get caught back up in the discussion quickly
- You can do a playback of all or part of the discussion and see who chimed in and when
- Need to share documents? You will eventually be able to drag them right out of your file system into the browser and into the wave. (This is currently only supported for pictures)
As I said, Wave is very early in its adoption, but after more people join, and more developer plugins come out, I think it will be a very valuable tool both in the workplace and at home.