After writing “6 Tips for Using Google Wave on Your First Project,” I’ve been learning more about Google Wave as my client and I use it for document collaboration and communication. Since I wrote the initial post, we’ve gotten a better handle on the features that are helping manage our Waves and related communications.
Here are some more tips on using Google Wave:
Use folders to organize your waves. I agree with early Google Wave critics that say that it can get a bit noisy. As my client project includes more than one document, I looked to folders to better organize my Waves. To create a folder, go to the Google Wave Navigation panel and click the “+” button next to “Folders.” Then enter the name you desire for your folder in the box that appears. You can drag and drop your Waves into the folder as long as you have Google Gears installed (No word yet if this is going to work under HTML5). You can also select a Wave in your inbox and then choose “Move To” from the More Actions drop-down list. A list of your folders will appear; select the folder where you want to move the Wave.
Tag your waves. As communications between my client and I grew in Google Wave, I wanted to make searching through our data easier, so I looked to Google Wave’s tagging features for help. Tagging a wave is as simple as opening the Wave you want to tag, and then clicking “+” next to “Tags” at the bottom of the Wave. Enter the text for your tag in the box that appears. You can only add one tag at a time. After tagging the wave, you and the rest of your band of merry collaborators can use the tag in your searches by using the search operator: “tag: [tag name]”.
Experiment with Playback. Despite being a self-confessed collaboration geek, it still took me a while to get up to speed with how Google Wave treats documents. Playback is one feature I am still experimenting with and that I recommend you check out for yourself. It enables you to see how communications in a wave unfolded — you literally see your wave scroll in front you sequentially from beginning to end. Open the Wave you want to play back, then click “Playback” at the top of the wave. You can use the playback controls that appear to navigate through the wave, and view the yellow status message window beneath the controls for a summary of each wave update.
Ping your collaborators. Wave is a real-time communications tool. You can ping another collaborator who you see online (perhaps to alert them that you would like to collaborate on a document) by selecting them from your Contacts list. A dialog box appears. Click “Ping <user name>” and a chat session dialog box opens.