Google Wave can create ripples in Technical Publications
Google Wave is a new tool for communication and collaboration on the web, coming later this year. Google Wave introduces a new platform built around hosted conversations called wave. With the Google Wave APIs, developers can take advantage of this collaborative system by building on the Google Wave platform, and allowing people to communicate and work together in new and more effective ways. The service seems to combine Gmail and Google Docs into an interesting free-form workspace that could be used to write documents collaboratively, plan events, play games or discuss a recent news.
• Real-time collaboration - Concurrency control technology lets all people on a wave edit rich media at the same time
• Natural language tools - Server-based models provide contextual suggestions and spelling correction
• Extending Google Wave - Embed waves in other sites or add live social gadgets, using Google Wave APIs
• Emeddedability – Can be embedded in any blog or site
• Wiki Functionality – Live editing to correct, append, or add information
What is a wave?
• A wave is equal parts conversation and document - People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
• A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.
• A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.
What is the Google Wave API?
The Google Wave API allows developers to use and enhance Google Wave through two primary types of development:
• Extensions: Build robot extensions to automate common tasks or build gadget extensions to provide a new way for users to interact
• Embed: Make your site more collaborative by dropping in a Wave
Implications for Technical Publications:
Google Wave can have implications on authoring tools and the way technical writers collaborate with their subject matter experts, reviewers and editors. It is predicted that authoring tool vendors will use the open API for Google Waves to incorporate Wave into their authoring/publishing tools. This will give a great impetus to collaborative authoring, especially in the high-bandwidth agile mode. It will also change the way technical publications teams use Web CMS or proprietary knowledge management tools like Microsoft SharePoint for collaborative authoring, by eliminating the time taken for manually copying content from these external systems, into the authoring tool project or publishing environment.
While authoring tools may undergo changes, the other possibility is that the current core editing and publishing functionality of existing wiki and Web CMS engines are expanded to make Wave an alternative core page/article type in their system. This can be done by adding more extensive content tagging and/or styling options, adding some DITA map or AuthorIT-style structures for reusing Wave in various “books”, and enabling a push-button to take a “clean view” of any Wave in the system and push (and link) it to a standard page/article in the wiki or CMS. End users could follow a link or page control to see a sanitized version of the original Wave that was used internally for authoring, and they could begin comment threads in that sanitized Wave to provide feedback. This would eventually support the authoring and publishing needs of information development departments.
Google Wave seems all set to create ripples in Technical Publications … Take a sneak preview at: http://wave.google.com/