My Google Wave Wish List: The Document Collaboration Edition

My previous post “6 Tips for Using Google Wave on your First Project” was really about the initial experience a client and I had with Google Wave, and some the early lessons we learned. While I would rank both of us as web-savvy early adopters, suffice it to say my wish list for Google Wave features has been growing fairly rapidly.

While my client and I are still happily using Google Wave for project collaboration, I am seeing more rough gaps — albeit ones within my new technology tolerance as an early adopter — that I would like to see filled in future versions of the product.

Of course, as a technical writer, my Google Wave wish list is very document-centric:

  • Table Support. Perhaps it is because I use tables a lot in my technical documentation, but I wish that Google Wave would support tables to the level that Google Docs does. Table support could be supplied natively or through a gadget or extension. The lack of table support in Google Wave is a real disadvantage for those of us who want to collaborate on moderately complex documents via Google Wave.
  • Spell Checker. I’d like to see Google Wave include a spell checker in a future release either natively, as an extension, or as a gadget.
  • Microsoft Word Compatibility or Integration. My first project with Google Wave started out with my client and I using it to pass Word documents back and forth. Then as our level of comments and opinions on the document and its content grew we tried to work on the drafts natively in Google Wave. My initial cut-and-paste experience from MS Word into Google Wave was not so favorable, because of how Google Wave treated the XML underlying the original Word document. While a better cut-and-paste experience that doesn’t mangle the copy would satisfy me for a bit, my more ambitious wish is a way to upload Word documents directly into the body of a new or existing Wave, so that I and other collaborators could edit and create new text in real-time with Google Wave’s editing tools.
  • Document Version Control. While this wish is probably best fulfilled by a Google Wave extension, there needs to be a level of document version control where when if I attach a document to a Wave, it can store multiple versions of the same document, instead of me having to blow away the document each time before I attach a new version of it to my current Wave.
  • Email and/or RSS Alerts. A web browser is the first thing I open after I login into my PC in the morning and it the last thing I close out of when I log off for the night. Still I would like to see Google Wave include some type of email and or RSS alerts so that when a Wave changes collaborators would be notified automatically. Email alerts would especially be handy for those times I am on a client site and may not have access to Google Wave because of security restrictions that the organization has in place.
  • Access via the Google Mobile App. The Google Mobile App is popular on both the iPhone and BlackBerry. It would be good to see Google Wave access via the app at some point in the future. I am a big proponent of mobile access to collaboration applications. But mobile access to Google Wave — while well done on the Waveboard iPhone application — is much too limited at the current time for teams who need constant access to their collaboration platform in order to stay in sync with project information.

My wish list is drawn from my initial Google Wave experience. What’s on your Google Wave wish list?

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