BLUF- (Bottom Line Up Front) Google Wave has great potential as an excellent collaboration tool. It will be especially useful for Marketing and PR documents that edited by many people prior to release. The problem will be getting the people who should use it, to use it.Google Wave is the new technology rolled out by Google over the past few months. There was a big scramble for people to get invitations, and then to ask those who were lucky enough to get extras to pass them along. Now, hundreds of thousands of people have invitations and we’re all trying to figure out what to do with it. One of my pet peeves is the string of 30 emails that a marketing group will exchange over a single topic, for instance a press release. Each email has one or two lines as people discuss changes to the document. Trying to retrace your steps, and understand how you reached the final point is almost impossible. Using MS Word and it’s Track Changes function is marginally useful. This is where I see Google Wave bringing great utility to the process. The main advantage for Wave in the collaboration process is the “Playback” feature. This works like a video where you can play the wave, as it happened. You will see who made what changes, when they were made, and (hopefully) why. This is an ideal tool to allow someone who joins a process late in the game to, in a single sitting, get up to speed on “how we got to where we are.” If you work in PR or Marketing you will instantly see the utility. All too often a Press Release or Ad Copy, will go through literally dozens of revisions before it reaches the final version. Bringing that final copy to Senior Management can often be tricky, “how come you did this?” The trick I see for Google Wave is getting people to us it. If they use it, it will be great. But can you get them to adopt this technology instead of using their email? My guess is that small groups will start to use Wave and it will grow that way. But I doubt senior management will be Twittering about how they love Google Wave anytime soon. To get started with Google Wave you need an invitation from someone who already has it. Then you create a wave and invite people who also are already in Google Wave to join your Wave. This is a little cumbersome the first time around. However it gets much easier the second time you start a wave. One of the roadblocks to Waves widespread use for Marketing and PR is the open question about security. I would avoid working on sensitive materials (financials, M&A) etc. with it. Which will make it tougher for Marketing and PR to adopt Wave. One achillies heel for Wave is the lack of notifications. With email you are notified when you have new messages. I’ve only found one tool that helps with that: Google Wave Add-on for Firefox (needed: an IE and Chrome version) this puts a little indicator in the corner of your browser window to tell you there are updates to your Waves. However, Google has released the API for Wave so I expect that there will be a lot more Add-On’s soon. If you’d like to Wave with me my Google Wave address is:firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like an invite to Google Wave, send me your email address and I’ll send an invitation (first 10 to request only). My email is:email@example.com Full Disclosure: I don’t work for Google, it’s advertising agency or anyone else connected to Google Wave. I’m not being compensated in any way for this and don’t expect to be. But if Serge wants to send me a check that would be fine with me.