Five ways my team avoids email – Google Wave

This is the fifth in a series of posts on how I lead my team in avoiding email.

Note: This post is somewhat irrelevant since it was announed that development of Google Wave is being discontinued.  It was a sad day when I read it was being canned since it was a powerful tool.  None-the-less, here’s how we were using it.

Google Wave is very powerful for containing information around projects and on-going conversations.

When a project is at the idea stage, Wave is great for threading conversations and allowing for side conversations to spin-off inline.  I love that it would walk me through the order in which comments were made.  This saves a lot of time trying to piece together the flow of a conversation in your inbox.

It’s excellent for collaborating on documents.  Instead of emailing revisions back and forth everything is right in the wave and edits can be made in real time.  I wrote a report with multi-departmental team across four timezones using Wave.

I love Wave for capturing meeting minutes.  Because of the real-time typing it makes it easy for everyone in a team meeting to edit or massage a record of what’s happening.  Again, no need to email, everything is self contained right in the wave.

Attachments – so easy to embed right in a wave.  It handles all sorts of media.

Widgets – one of the ways I’ve seen wave used best was when working with a global team to come up with a brand for a product.  Wave allowed us to plugin widgets to enable voting.  No need to piece together feedback from emails, the wave widget facilitated voted with a single click.

There are thousands of uses for wave that move people into much better collaboration than email.  It was sad to see this product go.

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2 thoughts on “Five ways my team avoids email – Google Wave

  1. I agree – sad to see Wave go. Google Docs has replicated the real-time function, but fails at the different files that you can insert into the doc and also the widgets that you can add. I loved the embedding a website feature (iFrame) and the voting widget.

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  2. I agree that it’s sad to see Wave go. I too found the inline communication and conversation splitting to be incredibly valuable for collaboration with multiple people, especially given that a person could be invited to the conversation once the topic reached a point where their input was needed, and they could freely step through to be brought up to speed.

    I think the biggest mistake Google had in this was that it was tied to Google’s own system exclusively, and there was no way to integrate it into any other platform. Possibly smart from a propriety standpoint, but clearly ineffective in usage. It was great for them to take the viewpoint of “rebuilding email from the ground up,” but by tying it to a browser-only, Google-only implementation made it useless for replacing email, since it wasn’t practical for an enterprise that doesn’t want to be tied to Google. A more open approach in the technology, or an open source server product that could be applied to an existing server might have fixed that…. namely, they should have considered that as an open-source product that heralded as a newsgroup replacement, rather than an email replacement. Being able to embed the technology in an existing web site instead of a forum or newsgroup might have made the implementation more practical…

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