Remember Google Wave? Once touted as the second coming of e-mail, Google's collaboration, instant messaging, social networking mashup turned out to be a bad fit for the average consumer, and fizzled out soon after it was announced. Today the tool was relaunched, promising faster performance and ease of use. Are you willing to give it a second chance?
Though the average consumer didn't want much to do with Wave, a small group of business folks did. Today at Google I/O, their efforts to improve the platform were finally revealed.
Oh, and you don't have to be invited this time—Google Wave is now open to everyone.
In fact, it seems that 'open' is Wave's new theme. Google has opened up more of the Wave API, open sourced the associated document model and federation tools, and even enabled anonymous access to public waves.
Wave developers claim to have learned three valuable lessons when it comes to the collaboration platform:
- Wave shines for groups of people working together
- As collaboration and Web Engagement grow, Wave's future potential for broader applications grows as well
- The platform needed to be more obvious about why it was beneficial
And so, in addition to all the openness, Google has tossed in features like e-mail notifications and browser add-ons that alert a user about new and changed Waves. The tool is also reportedly easier to navigate, comes with a cool extension gallery, and support for public Waves that can be embedded in Web pages.
"We think we're at a place where Wave is mature enough where real work can get done and you can really see the benefits of doing your work in Wave over existing tools," said Google engineer Lars Rasmussen.
"It's clear from the invaluable feedback we've received that Wave is a great place to get work done, in particular for teams working together on projects that involve lots of discussion and close coordination," added Google Wave product manager Stephanie Hannon. "If you tried Google Wave out a while ago and found it not quite ready for real use, now is a good time to come back for a second try."
Feel like giving it a second chance? Or even a first? No problem. As an official part of Google Apps, access is easy. Try it out and let us know what you think.