Over the last month, I have been investigating Google Wave, a new system from the search giant that combines elements of internet messengering, email and forum-based discussion. Among other things, I am using it with my family to plan our Christmas menu. It is hard to find a time when all of us are available at the same time, so phone, Skype, or online chat are tricky. Also, it is the kind of discussion which needs a lot of referring back to earlier comments, making email less than optimal. Wave seems to be working pretty well although it does have the problem of being a new way of doing things and so more to learn alongside accomplishing the task at hand.
There is help with getting to grips with the system though. As well as a reasonable online help system within Wave itself, I have found a decent online book called The Complete Guide to Google Wave. There are probably some other good resources available now — I should do another search around.
I had heard a lot about the system before I got to try it (thanks Andy for my invite) but had not been particularly excited. Tricks like being able to edit what someone else is typing before they have even finished looked likely to be confusing rather than helpful. However, I am glad I tried it out and think it does have the potential to be a very useful communication tool. The main limitation is that most of the people I might like to use it with aren’t yet on the system and, because it is still under development (and trying to develop a buzz) requires an invitation to get in. Fear not though – I have finally have some invites to give away. Get in touch with me (offer limited to people I’ve got some connection with… in which case you will have ways to reach me!) and I’ll recommend you for an invite so you can give me a wave.