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Google Wave - First Impressions and 'I got invitations!'

Google Wave And with an email from, I get my invitation to preview Google Wave, the cloud services giant's latest communication and collaboration solution.

After a click and a sign-in (using my Google account of course), I'm immediately thrusted into the world of waves and blips and promises of easier real time collaboration: Google Wave. So far... it's interesting.

First, what is Google Wave?

From the Google Wave Wikipedia entry:

[Google Wave] is a web-based service, computing platform, and communications protocol designed to merge e-mail, instant messaging, wikis, and social networking.

So... what is Google Wave again?!

Google Wave Dashboard

Google Wave is a SaaS offering from Google that allows you to connect to your friends (and I'm certain Google is hoping your colleagues) and do things like Ping them, or share a YouTube video with them, or ... stuff.

I started things off by listening to Dr. Wave (Greg, one of the Google Wave Product Managers - who isn't on the Meet the Google Wave Team page like I thought he would be...) tell me what a navigator was, what a wave was, that the Google Wave team refers to messages as blips and other standard intro stuff.

Since Google is Google, my Google Talk contacts were brought into Google Wave... which was kinda nice as it allowed me to create my Hello Wave and send it to Tim Tripcony:

Google Wave: Hello Wave!

I was able to click and add/embed things like YouTube videos, and (something that should prove rather interesting) Google Gadgets, as well as rich text via a realtime spell-checker enabled slick little Rich Text editor. I really liked how the first line auto-bolded and became the title of my wave.

As mentioned, my Google Talk contacts came into Google Wave (those that have Google Wave accounts that is), so I was able to pull up Tim's contact information directly from the dashboard:

Google Wave: Contact

And then I wanted to try and Ping Tim...

Google Wave: Hello Ping!

When docked, each ping sits at the top of the Google Wave dashboard and looks eerily familiar...

Google Wave: TABS!

... and that's all I've done so far. I'll continue playing around with it and report back my findings on the UX and functionality in about a week or so.

For the geeks out there who just had to know what's under the hood:

Google front-ended the Java-based Google Wave XML store via the Google Web Toolkit, and the UI is very easy to understand and manipulate.

A few things that did surprise me:

  • Navigators and sidebars, Tabs across the top of the screen, and the overall layout reminded me a lot of Lotus Notes...
  • I kept wanting to right-click to get context-sensitive menus. For example, when I right-clicked on Tim's Contact entry, I expected the Ping, Wave, etc. menu to popup. Instead, I got the standard right-click menu from my web browser. Not too sure if I like that they didn't mess around with the web browser UX or not to be honest...

  • I was shocked that you couldn't drag and drop things. Move different panels to different locations and have them snap into place or move one of the many DHTML popups in Google Wave, y'know?
  • I was also shocked that the Rich Text Editor's Add a Google Gadget bring you to a micro-catalog, but instead asked for the URL to the Gadget.

But as LaVar Burton says, don't take my word for it: I've got Google Wave Invitations.

Google Wave Invitations!

It looks like each new account gets eight (8) invitations, so here's what we're going to do. The first eight people who respond to this review get an invitation. Don't put your email address in the post body itself, but rather just fill out the Comment form below and I'll pull them from there.

The only catch is... I want to know what you think of Google Wave too!

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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Except where otherwise noted, by Chris Toohey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.