Thursday, January 14, 2010

Introduction to Google Wave

This is a cross-post from my blog on the military Social Media tool milBook, and also from a response to a discussion thread on the topic of Knowledge Management enablers.

I have seen many collaborative technologies over the years, but there is one that was introduced a few months ago that may provide a lot of the capabilities required for an online collaboration system: Google Wave.

My definition: Google Wave is a product that could replace email, instant messaging, and threaded discussion using a collaborative platform and an open-source protocol.

There is a wealth of information on this system, starting with the Google Wave Users Group on milBook and also on the Google Wave site. I will just throw out a few things that I have learned:

Google Wave is three things: Product, Platform, and Protocol.

Currently, the product is available in pre-beta form from Google. It will be provided by Google in a manner similar to Gmail, Google Maps, etc.

The platform is open source, and while I am not sure that the code is available yet, but when it is, you could stand up a Wave server and start using it with Google's blessing.

The protocol is the most promising part of Wave. It is set up so that multiple Wave servers can be federated (over a single port) so that there could be easily configured Joint, Interagency, Intergovernment, and Multinational (and .com) (JIIM+) collaboration. There is already a large group of Government Wave users, called FedWave, that is exploring the use of Wave in the Federal Government.

Below is a partial list all the features of Wave, but the key idea is that all waves are hosted on a server, can have multiple participants, and can have a lot of functionality embedded in them. This allows you to bring someone in and get them up to speed in a hurry, instead of trying to figure out which of the 20 emails in multiple threads to forward to them. Wave allows you to playback the evolution of the interaction, so a newcomer can see how the conversation came to be. There are multiple extensions to the protocol already, including collaborative map viewing, online polling, and many more. There is extensive search and tagging capabilities as well (it is a Google product after all...).

• Real-Time information
• Live transmission of any type
• Used as faster conversation
• Wave is used as new way of creating dialogue among group of users
• Google Wave contains gadgets and tools
• In Google wave there are gadgets like Wikify which can brings Wikipedia to your Google Wave account.
• It include tools for checking spelling and grammar
• It has a great futures like translating between 40 different languages by using Rosy Extension. • It has TWaves extension that allows the user to incorporate their tweet stream.
• It has drag and drop sharing of digital assets like photos, sound and video.
• Playback facility
• Open Source
• Easy embedding facility
• eBayBot - Search eBay in Google Wave
• Google Wave has a Public Timeline, like Twitter ( “with:public” )
• Webcam Video Chat and Much More on Google Wave with 6rounds
• Adding new people to the conversation easy
• Bloggy extension can Embeds the Wave into a blog
• Polly the Pollster : Creates any poll you can imagine I found this here.

This is a diagram of the components of a wave:

I will cover this in more detail in subsequent posts. I have a few invitations left if anyone is interested. I have been kicking the tires for a few weeks now, and I think the Google team may have created a game-changer. Now we just need to make sure our People, Processes, Organization, and Culture are ready.

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