Google Wave as a chat web application

I admit that I’m not using Google Wave as much as I can and the main reason for this is the lack of coworkers/colleagues/friends who are actively using it. The tool must have a purpose, right?

So, yesterday, I’ve come with an idea to create a purpose for me and the members of one of my sites. Since Google allows me to make a wave public and embed it in a web page, I can’t see no reason not to create a public wave and use it as a web application for chat!

The benefits for this decision are more than the disadvantages. Actually, I can see only two of the latter: the small number of people who are using it and the fact that it is still in beta version and one can become a member only by invitation by another member [19 May 2010 update: Google announced today that access to Google Wave is free to everyone, given that she has a Google account]. On the other hand, the usage of a public wave as a chat application has the following advantages (at least, for me):

  • Easy setup: Just copy-paste the code from the Google Web Elements page and start using it. Also, there is no need for local storage or a dedicated database.
  • Instant notifications: The members can see the replies of the other members, as they are writing them or even replay the discussion step by step. There are also email notifications for new replies, so (a) there is no need to continuously check the web page and (b) you can react immediately if you detect any abuse.
  • Indented replies: The members can choose to reply to a discussion or start their own.
  • Identified members: There are no anonymous replies (possible spam), albeit the public nature of the wave.

There may be more, we ‘re still evaluating this solution and maybe there is something I didn’t reckon when I decided to follow this route. I know that there are other alternatives, but you can’t beat the simpleness of this one.

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