Thanks to one of our readers (thanks again, Donal) I got a Google Wave invitation Friday morning. By the way - if someone says they have sent you an invitation, you may have to wait: Donal said that he had sent that invitation on Monday. I don't know if Google is just slow in processing these or if they are deliberately doling them out slowly (probably the latter), but once you actually get your invite, you can be up and working in minutes.
I started out using Wave in my Firefox browser, but quickly switched to Waveboard, a Mac Wave client. It's not that it's all that much better than running Wave in a browser; it's just that I like having it in its own Dock icon.
I created a few waves and soon had a few conversations going with other Wave users who I added to the Waves. My contacts as supplied by Google seem to be people from my Gmail contacts who also have Wave accounts. I recognize only about half of them, though: probably because they used a different name in email than they do in Wave.
My first conversation was with Donal, thanking him for the invitation. That could have just as easily been done in email or chat, of course; there was no specific reason to use Wave. However, in the next conversation, Wave was useful.
I had started a Wave titled "Until everyone can use this, sure is useless :-)", in which I lamented my inability to bring in people who don't currently have Wave accounts. I have uses in mind for Wave, but without being able to add in non-wave users, I can't do anything useful. I added in everyone in my Contacts list and a few comments soon came.
One of the people happened to be someone I do business with and his appearance reminded me that there was something I wanted to talk to him about. We started doing that in a "private" conversation within the existing wave, but then realized that it was better to spawn it off to a new Wave. That's very easy to do and is an advantage of Wave over Mail and Chat - not that you can't peel off from either, but it's easier in Wave.
I also started a "public" Wave. That's a Wave that anyone can join (assuming you have already been blessed with a Wave account). You create a public Wave by adding "firstname.lastname@example.org" to the list of people you want to be able to read the Wave. With that, it's now open to the world. Presently, there is no way to post a link to a public Wave; you have to search within Wave to find them. For example, to find my Wave, you'd search for "with:public Tony Lawrence's Unix, Linux and Mac OS X Tips".
I started another Wave called "Will Wave replace Email?". I opined:
Two people have commented on that so far. One said:
I suspect that's exactly what will happen. A Wave isn't always better than email, but sometimes it is and you don't necessarily know at the beginning of a conversation that it would be better as a Wave. For example, suppose that halfway through a long back and forth email discussion you need to bring someone else in. With email, you'd have to forward all the prior messages - that can be tough for the recipient. With Wave, you just bring them in and they can replay the previous messages step by step if they want to. That's a powerful advantage over email and it's why, if this does become ubiquitous, many of us will probably just use Wave instead of email.
That could really change things, couldn't it?
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