As the hype dies down around Google Wave and the tinkerers all shake their heads and walk away underwhelmed, the work begins. From the very beginning Google Wave proposed a platform that would allow us to consolidate our communication and collaboration needs into one platform. However, many missed the fact that this platform is in Preview and is just a glimpse of what could be. Many would argue that Google Wave, as it works today, is not worth anything and does nothing but create yet another place that you need to check for "Unread" somethings. I agree it is not ready for the public and has some real missing features and security issues, however developers are making up for many of the lack of features with all types of gadgets.
If you are on Google Wave, a great public resource for how Google Wave works today is at The Complete Guide to Google Wave by Gina Trapani (Founder of LifeHacker). Another great resource is in this public Wave: Google Wave Extenstion List where you can find some of the current development to extend Google Wave beyond what is launched in the Preview.
For those of us in the CAD Industry, we have been trying to find how we can all use this technology to bring collaboration to product development. I wanted to use the resources that are availble now to take a first step in bringing 3D into Google Wave. Since 3dvia is already web-based and has conduits to upload many 3D file formats into their community, I started there. I was able to upload a model from SolidWorks and embed it into Google Wave for others to see and manipulate. How to Embed 3dvia into Google Wave:
1. Go to 3dvia.com and find a model (or upload one from your CAD tool of choice)
2. Click on the model and select the "Embed" tab on the right of the site. This will allow you to copy the embed code.
3. Start a new blip (New edit in a wave)
4. Click on the "Add Gadget by URL" button
5. Type in the HTML gadget url: http://wave-ide.appspot.com/html.xml - This will load a gadget window in Google Wave. In the upper left click "Edit" and you can paste in the embed code from 3dvia.com.
6. Once pasted, click "View" in the upper left of the gadget window and you will see the image of your model with the "Play 3D" on it. Click to start the viewer.
In order to get this to work you will need to have 3dvia Player installed which is supported in both IE (Windows) and Firefox (Mac & Windows). There is no support for Chome, which is my browser of choice, especially with Wave but Firefox works well. The viewer, as far as I can tell, is not collaborative so everyone sees their own instance of it but this is much better than just uploading a file attachment.
I hope to see more true collaborative 3D tools emerge for Google Wave since the framework lends itself nicely to product development and would complement any 3D CAD tool out there. ~Lou