Realasave.com is not only a great real estate company, we are also a technology company. We leverage technology to support our green, paperless business and to build great tools for our users. We also rely on great tools to keep us organized and communicating well within our organization.
When I first saw the Google Wave developer preview video, I wanted to play around with this cool looking new system from Google. Luckily I was granted a preview invite back in September and was able to share a few invites with our team. Since then we’ve been using Wave internally for some small collaborative projects.
In general, I do like the idea of a Wave and the nice threaded interactions being stored in one place. It’s really nice to be able to add other users to the Wave and have everyone contribute. We’ve used it on some website changes to discuss mock ups and work our way to a final version. The playback feature is useful in seeing who has made which changes. You can also make a Wave public by adding the user firstname.lastname@example.org to the Wave.
I think that Wave is coming along quite nicely overall and, of course, there are always glitches with technology at this early stage, which is part of the learning process for the product. We experienced issues with trying to add Word documents to a Wave. Some docs just wouldn’t load. I also experienced severe slow down and even some browser crashes (even in Chrome) when trying to interact with large public Waves. The real time typing updates are interesting, but I’m not sure I’m a big fan or how useful this actually is. I’m guessing there will be an option to turn this feature off. The plugin landscape is also pretty sparse right now, so it’s hard to say how plugins will help flush out the product. Being able to edit someone else’s reply / text is also kind of weird, but you can see the changes in the playback mode. It might become hard to see where edits were made if there are a large number of them. A filter on the playback or other form of timeline may be useful.
One thing I think that is really needed is an notify option. Currently, you don’t know a Wave has been updated unless you are logged into Wave watching your inbox. Right now we find ourselves pinging each other in IM.. “hey I just updated the mock up wave, go check it out”. There is a FireFox plugin that will help you with this now, but it needs to be part of the core system. This may be in the plans, and likely is, but I would also like to see integration with Google docs.
Overall, I think Wave is going to be a useful tool. Will it replace email? unlikely. Will it be a useful tool for smaller teams and friends to collaborate on units of work? I think so, but I’m not sure it’s going to be quite as game-changing as Google hopes.