It has been noticeable that mentions of Google Wave have dropped off as the year has progressed. Whilst Google’s Buzz has been catching the headlines, the Wave Team are still quietly working away tweaking both the core code and functionality of this application. Two of the biggest changes have been the inclusion of ‘read-only and restore’ and ‘email notifications’ features. [Editor: Another new feature not mentioned in this post is the new Extensions Link and Gallery]
Prior to this new feature all participants on a wave had read/write access. This meant that anyone viewing a wave could also edit it. Users had developed a workaround by adding an automated participant (a robot) to the wave which would freeze the wave from further editing but it was clear that this solution was a compromise.
This allows the user to restore the wave to a previous version via playback.
Shortly after the official first outing of Google Wave there were a number of headlines describing it as an ‘email killer’. Email is so deeply embedded into our communication strategies it is very unlikely that Wave will replace email, instead it is more likely to be a symbiotic relationship. This is apparent in Wave’s latest feature, email notifications. This allows users to receive an email notification about new and updated waves. Some may see this as a retreat by Google away from their original intension to ‘reinvent email’ but I see it as a realistic response to the wider environment.
New application – ConceptDraw MindWave
Google Wave continues to be developed by third parties, a sign perhaps that users can see beyond the hyperbole. One of the most recent extensions is a gadget called ConceptDraw MindWave. This application allows users to collaboratively build mind maps within waves which can then be downloaded to the desktop ConceptDraw MINDMAP software. View this link for a demonstration video and more information.