Google Wave Opens Up, Finally

By  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 9:00 am

At 2009′s Google I|O developer conference, the big news was the debut of the company’s uberambitious Wave workgroup service. And it was big news: I got all giddy and called it the new epicenter of the Google-Microsoft wars; my friend Jordan Golson, on the other hand, thought it was breathtakingly arrogant.

And then not a lot happened. The service stayed in private beta. It was a hot ticket for awhile, but a running gag quickly developed: “Hey, I got into Google Wave–now what?” References to chirping crickets were common. After a while, people stopped talking about Wave much, period. The world moved on to other subjects–like the vaguely Wavelike Google Buzz.

Almost a year later, I|O 2010 is kicking off today. And one of Google’s announcements is that it’s finally letting everyone into Wave as part of its experimental Google Labs offerings. You can sign up at wave.google.com.

Google cheerfully admits that some Wave early adopters found it too slow and confusing for real use, and says it’s worked hard to spiff the service up. The basic idea remains the same: It’s part e-mail and part IM; it enables collaboration so real-time that you see what other folks type one character at a time; it can be embedded into blogs and other sites; it includes photo sharing, mobile versions, and what Google says is a revolutionary spell checker.

A year is a long time for anything to stay in closed beta–especially a collaborative platform. I’m not sure whether Wave’s public launch will lead to widespread usage or more controversy…or, maybe, both. Or maybe Wave will turn out to be less of a big deal than Google clearly thought it would be when it made it the centerpiece of last year’s developer conference. Whatever happens, it’ll good news that anyone who’s intrigued by Wave will get to judge it for himself or herself.

 
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  1. Judi F Says:

    As soon as WAVE appeared I tried it and tried to convince others I collaborate with to do so. However you can sure hear the crickets in the silence that prevails. It does seem like a very good idea however it appears that for most people (even computer savy ones) that it is just a big duh! I still think that it could be very useful but perhaps we’ll have to wait awhile. Meanwhile this Buzz seems to be trying to grab everything that passes in Gmail – now have to figure that out. I think we can probably say that there are too many changes – too fast for most people to want to deal with.

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