Months ago when Google Wave was the new hotness on the block, and everyone and their Internet-connected Mother was trying to get an account, I mostly scoffed at the technology. At the time I felt it was a cross between IRC, a rich real-time Wiki, and some crazy new “look what we can do Web 2.0″ type application. I poked around the various incarnations it took through the preview, but mostly forgot about it months ago.
Then today I was talking with a friend who mentioned that Google Apps users can now get their own Waves for their domain. Google Apps, for those who aren’t into all the Google Kool-Aid, is hosted email/calendaring/contacts/documents for a domain or organization. I must imagine their target demographic is business users, but I use it for my own personal domain, as do many others.
But back to Google Wave. I was trying to think of a use case for Google Wave for my domain, since previously I had pretty much written it off as some useless toy. After being in a meeting at work where all I wanted was an online notepad where I could add notes, edit them later, and then email out to my team, Google Wave came back to the front of my mind.
At work we use Zimbra for our email/calendaring, and while it has a tasks list and briefcase area for writing documents saved in the Zimbra ecosystem, it doesn’t quite cover all the bases. There is no way to tell revisions, so I can’t tell when I edited a piece of the document, and exactly what I modified. While Zimbra does have briefcase documents, it feels like a hacked together solution that does not integrate well. When working with a document, Zimbra decides to open said document in a screen-maximized window, dominating other windows. Why not stick that document into another Zimbra tab?
Comparing the functionality to Google Wave, I wish I could email a wave. I understand that a Wave might contain animated Youtube videos, or other rich content, but even a static-PDF would suffice. Currently all that is provided is the ability to email a link to your particular wave.
Having only used it for a day or so right now, it has proved pretty helpful, along with having the speed and reliability of other Google products.
You might be asking “what is the difference for this use case, between Google Wave and Google Documents?” For me personally, Wave comes across as much more train-of-thought, whereas a Doc feels more like a formalized document. What do you guys think? Are there use cases for Google Wave other than the obvious?