This past week Google rolled out a few enhancements that I believe will bring this web-based collaborative tool back into focus for some. One of the biggest complaints of Google Wave was it was just another place to check for "stuff" online and without a notification mechanism, the service was not checked regularly. Depending on your preference, you can now specify how frequently you are notified of new Waves in your inbox.
I have been using a third party notification tool in my system tray in Windows called Wave Notifier for Windows and the Unofficial Wave Notifier for Mac, both of which are doing essentially the same thing without me having to look at my email. These solutions work well if they are installed but most people pushed Google Wave off after the first couple of weeks and never went back. Hopefully this is the beginning of features that Google adds to fill in the gaps for people who would like to have a powerful, web-based collaborative tool like Wave.
Wave Notification Setup:
- In Navigation (upper left) click on the Inbox and pull down the arrow icon (right)
- Select Notifications
- Choose notification frequency and email address. (screenshot)
You can add additional email address selections by adding them to your Google Profile associated with the Gmail address your Wave account is associated with.
One of the many powers of Google Wave is it's extension architecture, allowing 3rd parties to build applications to verticals within the platform. This has been accessible since launch but required you to pick from a small subset of extensions within Google Wave's "Settings" wavelet or understand how to add the Developer Extension and plug in either an extensions XML URL or know the Manifest URL to add the extension to your toolbar. This made the functionality only interesting to techs/geeks but not for the user just wanting to use extensions. Google has finally brought the "Extensions" menu that has been in the developers sandbox for a while to the Navigation panel. Clicking on this will display a list of waves of different (more popular) extensions with the ability to get a brief summary and a one click install for that user.
I hope this is the beginning to many more features in Google Wave so a path can be set for this tool. I have started using this for many projects and would hate to see it die on the vine. This is a tool that can be used by engineers and product development to bring a collaborative aspect to every project but without stability and integration to existing tools it is just another silo! So I say with great enthusiasm...."Save Google Wave...Save Google Wave!"