I think I’m starting to get it. I’ve used it a couple of times but not for any other reason than to play with it, but now I have an actual need for a place to collaborate with a group of geographically displaced people, the ISTC Community website, it’s starting to make sense.
And I’m not the only person that thinks Google Wave is best suited to this kind of collaboration.
I’ve realised that what Google have done is take the best bits from a couple of different communication channels, combine them and add a couple of improvements.
Those channels are email and Wiki, with a hint of instant messaging thrown in for good measure.
The easiest comparison is to email, with threaded conversations the main thrust of a Wave, but as you can edit and ‘interrupt’ any part of an existing message, with that edit viewable to everyone else on the wave, soon you begin to realise that it’s more like a message based Wiki.
The ability to see new messages in real-time adds in a type of instant messaging but I think the value stands in the staggered, traceable, timelined edits of messages. For a collaborative, group project workspace this is wonderful.
I’m still learning Google Wave and as it’s still being developed there are a few quirks and annoyances to be overcome but despite those, so far, they are far outweighed by the benefits.
There are other use cases of Google Wave in action, and if you are interested, I do have a small number of invites left.