Google Wave has been a hot topic among the tech community. It appears that either people understand the functionality which Wave can provide users, while others have met the app with skepticism. Until now, only a select few have been invited to test Google Wave but it is now available to the public. I’ve given the service a once over, have tested many of its functions and have personally begun to understand the various opinions which have run the gamut.
The most important question you probably want answered is – ‘Will Google Wave help my small business?’
If utilized properly, I think Google Wave could be a wonderful boon to many small businesses out there. The trick is knowing what you’re getting into before starting up Wave. First, you should know that I haven’t seen anything completely revolutionary out of Wave thus far. Google Wave isn’t going to balance your budget, bring in new customers/clients, or pay your office lease.
However, Wave does provide some tools to help optimize communication within your small business. The service takes various forms of communication and condenses them into one tool. You have email, instant messaging, document posting, meeting memos, and more. All of which update at a quick, almost real time pace. The amount of tools provided will allow you to scrub other programs which might only provide email, while making you use something else for hosting documents.
Along with the amount of standard tasks available, Wave has the option for downloading extensions. These extensions provide even more function, expanding Wave’s use even farther. Here are some of the useful extensions I found so far:
TimeBridge Conferencing – Allows phone and web conferencing through Google Wave.
Travel WithMe – Provides groups on Wave the ability to plan trips in real time.
Likey – A Wave extension providing a like/dislike feature, to help gauge ratings for topics.
Requesty – Adds security to Wave by requiring permission to join a certain discussion.
Chart Gadget – Allows users to insert charts into Wave.
Those are five extensions, which are part of what is a total of 60 extensions as of now. As with all things Google, Wave’s API is open allowing developers to create extensions which should help to grow Wave’s significance even farther.
If you’re on the fence as to whether or not Wave would be good for your business, answer these questions:
Are you struggling to keep everyone on the same page within your business?
Are the employees who work for you spread out at various locations?
Does your business require quick, and efficient real time communication?
If you answered yes to any of those questions then I’d recommend at least trying Google Wave. If used properly, I could see Wave increasing efficiency for business communication. As with all tools though, its effectiveness is only as strong as those who are using it.