Tips, Tasks, Love and all the rest

Since my last entry, Chris Brogan has really become a fan of Google Wave.  Here are a few posts of his that you need to check out:

Tips for Google Wave: After using it a bit, he’s developed some techniques that may be useful to those of you just getting started.

Using Google Wave for Task Management: Is Google Wave a suitable tool for managing your tasks?  At this point, I don’t really think it is, but it certainly could become one.

How I Came to Love Google Wave: He’s now pretty much “all in”.  He loves Wave, and appreciates what it can do.  He admits that it has a limited scope of usefulness so far (“if you have no obvious collaboration project to try it on, it doesn’t immediately make sense”) but sees a lot of potential in it.

Also, Lifehacker has just built a great chart that shows the differences between Wave and other current web-based collaboration systems.

It’s a nifty little chart, and certainly makes it look like Google Wave is something to keep an eye on.  Once they fill in those last few boxes at the bottom, it’ll be a very powerful system.

Using Google Wave for a Manhunt

seattle-waveThe Seattle Times is trying a to use Google Wave for a pretty serious task — catching a killer.

They’ve created a public wave with information about the chase for the man suspected of killing four Seattle police officers a few days ago.  There are over 100 people in the Wave that are adding video footage, suspect descriptions, police scanner audio, automobile details, etc.  It’s neat to watch.

TechCrunch has a nice review of how well (or not) it is working.  Some people love to see the flow of information, while others think it’s simply too chaotic.  Spam will also be an issue for things like this, though this wave seems to be mostly on-task as of now.

This certainly adds a new item to the great ways to use Google Wave, and I expect we’ll see many other creative uses for it in the coming months.

A Day of a Student with Google Wave

(note: this is a guest post from Simon, one of the winners in a contest we recently held)

07:00 – Wake up

It’s seven in the morning, time to prepare for a brand new day at school. Let’s check last night’s updates, right from the bed thanks to the iPhone interface. Wow, yesterday’s party pics has been published on the class wave ! I can watch them in fullscreen through the slideshow mode, and even download them all later to keep them on my pc.

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14:00 – Free Time

Hey, a friend has just started a yes/no question for a bowling ! Of course I’m in ! I can even add a little message, for example to tell everyone I come with my brother.

I also discovered some great stuff with Rssybot. I can share them in just a couple of clicks.

If I’m bored, I can always have fun in Wave with several cool extensions like Wave Sudoku.

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17:00 – Back home

With Wave, everybody keeps connected after school. It like a mix between a big chat and a shoutbox. Everyone discuss with everyone, but we are always together. Even if you’re not online, you can still follow what happened with the Playback feature. It make communications way easier between us than before. No more grouped mails and single answers, no more multi-chats with half of people missing… But if you still want to talk with your Live Messenger buddies, you can right inside a wave through a dedicated bot.

Google Wave can serve as an enhanced dropbox, where you can both chat, share informations, but also files ! An simple drag-n-drop automatically uploads the files you want to share.

Many People seem to come to the bowling tonight. As several people are unfamiliar with the neighborhood, I add a map inside the wave.

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22:00 – Party time !

During the night, I can at every moment post my feelings on Twitter and keep those you couldn’t come up to date, right inside Wave web app in my phone !


OK, all that was maybe a little utopian for now, and yes I’m still the only in my class to have my Google Wave access… But I may be the daily basis for many people in a few years ! Wave clearly have an amazing potential, and could be able to replace current instant messaging softwares, protocols and habits. It could open a new way for sharing and opening to the world.

Download the Complete Guide to Google Wave

ThecompleteguidetogooglewaveGina Trapani and Adam Pash of Lifehacker have put together a book titled “The Complete Guide to Google Wave“.  It’s a 102-page, DRM-free ebook that you can get right now for only $6.

If you don’t feel like shelling out $6 for an ebook, you can read the entire book right on their site!  It covers every aspect of Wave, broken into logical chapters: getting started, contacts, shortcuts, gadgets, robots, it’s all there.

It seems like a solid book.  If you you’ve read it, leave a note in the comments here and let us know what you think of it.

Google Wave for Teachers: A Concept

(note: this is a guest post from Mike Kirk, one of the winners in a contest we recently held)

Google Wave EDLast month, Google announced beta for an upcoming product called Wave which the tech giant refers to as “what e-mail would look like if it were invented today”. By that they mean a communications system with all of the acquired knowledge of the 21st century without the hang-ups of the 20th. For detailed info you should really check out the official Google Wave site, but I’ll try to keep the pre-required knowledge to a minimum here.

So what on earth does this have to do with education? Google is inventing this to revolutionize communication and productivity, which has essentially been stagnant for decades if not longer. E-mail, as one example, is sent back and forth between one or more people just as the letter or the memorandum was before it. Wave basically breaks that wide open, offering contextual live editing of a single communiqué. Now, while this can certainly help in productivity in a classroom just like it could help any general office task, the overall Wave concepts could be applied on a grander scale for educators.

The Way Things are for Teachers

The teaching process has remained largely unchanged in over hundreds of years. While technology may have advanced the way we do things, it hasn’t really affected what we are doing. Let’s take a look at the chart below. This is the basic process of teaching as it is today the way it has been for decades.

Instruction ProcessWhether you teach kindergarten or AP classes, these steps are all required. The teacher is responsible for teaching a subject to a learner. A teacher may have a curriculum or a textbook, but I feel that these tools are passive when it comes to twenty-first century instruction. An effective teacher will bring in outside ideas from co-teachers, mentors, administrators, parents and finally students. From each unique perspective a lesson plan should be enriched as a final outcome.

In general, these perspectives all happen in different places and are given by different people. Co- teachers and administrators can be in different buildings offering different viewpoints. Parents can be concerned at work or at home about getting their voice heard. Mentors can be giving great advice online nationwide or even worldwide. A technology minded teacher would need a tool to bring all of these voices together.
I believe we can look to Google Wave for some of the answers.

The Way Things Could Be for Teachers

Google is trying to get users to wrap their heads around this idea of a wave, which is basically the digital equivalent of a blank white board. In the wave, you can write correspondence, view documents or pictures, incorporate data from other web sources do all kinds of other things that would be available to a group of people sitting around a conference table. Let’s take that idea of a blank space or a wave in which a teacher can do productive work with others.

Teacher Wave Concept

This potential for communication and collaboration would be a game changer for teacher. So many branches, you probably don’t even know where to start. It’s simple, every idea and step passes through the wave. Everyone has a voice that can be heard and responded to equally.

Google Wave is currently built to aid all kinds of text editing, namely e-mail and chat. If you look at that wave with the idea of lesson plans as an ongoing project, you should be able to gather input and feedback over a wave. Teachers can share their expertise in their subjects to include in other classes, such as research paper writing in English class to a lab report in Science class. In Google’s tech demo, once one user dragged files into the wave, a preview of the files appeared in another user’s wave. This same idea could work for sharing educational video and classroom photos.

Why go to all of this trouble?

Effective teaching and learning are collaborative processes. A teacher can elicit help from others to construct effective lesson plans. As I said earlier, so many people are working in so many different places with one common goal in mind. Why not move the tools needed to achieve that common goal into the same space? Google is specifically asking people to come up with innovative ways to take advantage of the technology they have on offer. In time, I believe that the education community will benefit directly from this web application.

A bunch of new tips

Google posts new tips from time to time.  Here are a few recent ones:

Search for public waves in your language — Search for “with:public + terms” and you’ll get a ton of results in your language (35 available).

Color code your inbox with saved searches — This is a neat way to mark things in your inbox.  The result is similar to the “labels” found in gmail.  Create a search, save it, and then apply a color to it.  Any items in your inbox that are there because of the search will be marked with that search and colored.  See this short video below for details:

Link your waves: Find the wave you want to link in your search panel, then drag and drop that wave into your compose window.  That’s it!  Remember that people will need to be participants of both waves to be able to see the content in both.

Open multiple waves at once: Hold down ‘Ctrl” (PC) or ‘Cmd’ (Mac) and then click on another wave.

Quickly read unread blips: Use the spacebar to jump from one unread blip to the next.  This can be very useful in large waves that have many changes in them.

Any other tips? What are some of your favorite shortcuts?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Google Wave 101

I’ve had a few people tell me they’ve gotten their Wave invite and then jumped in to check it out, but they didn’t really know what to do with it.  I’ve just put together a quick 4-1/2 minute screencast that shows some of the basics.  In this video, I’ll show you how to:

  • Add contacts so you can connect with your friends
  • Invite other users
  • Create a Wave and add a friend to it
  • Play with some of the basic extensions

It’s very simple stuff, but hopefully it’ll help you get your feet wet and start playing around.

You can watch the video here. (4:25)

If you’re still looking for an invite, keep following us on Twitter and we’ll post on there when we have more.

If you have other questions, please feel free to leave a comment on this post.

Google Wave Cheat Sheet

A great list of commands to use in Google Wave, found via Church Tech Matters.

Search Cheat Sheet
This is a quick guide to the operators and restricts supported by wave search.
about:[keyword] — finds waves which have [keyword] occurring anywhere. Same as [keyword].
title:[keyword] — finds waves which have [keyword] in the title.
caption:[keyword] — finds waves which have an attachment where [keyword] occurs in the caption.
is:read — finds all read waves.
is:unread — finds all unread waves.
Note: you cannot currently do a search like “-is:read” by itself and get reliable results due to an outstanding restriction on megastore queries
is:mute — finds all muted waves.
is:unmute — finds all waves not muted
is:active — currently the same as is:unread.
is:note — finds all waves which have you as the only participant and contributor
from:[address] — finds waves from the participant identified by the address. Special case of from:me identifying waves from yourself.
by:[address] — same as from:[address].
to:[address] — find waves which are a dialogue between you and the participant identified by the address.
with:[address] — find waves that have the participant identified by the given address explicitly listed.
owner:[address] — find waves by person, that they created.
only:[address] — finds waves to which only the participant specified by the given address contributed.
Date Search
Currently, there are a few restricts:
past:[date term] — finds all waves in the last period.
previous:[date term] — finds all waves in the period before the last period.
before:[date term] — finds all waves before a certain period.
after:[date term] — finds all waves after a certain period.
which can be combined with date terms:
So you can have past:week, past:year. There is also support for
past:N[date term] where N > 0. So you can have past:3days (today, yesterday, the day before yesterday).
Also you can have
Finally, you can abbreviate days, weeks, months and years to a single letter (d, w, m, y). Thus you can write
in:[folder name] — find waves in the folder with the given name. For example, in:inbox.
in:[search name] — find waves in the saved search with the given name.
is:unfiled — find waves which have not been moved to a user folder.
is:filed — find waves which belong to some user folder.
has:attachment — finds waves with an attachment. This changed from “is:image”.
has:document — finds waves with an attachment which is a document. (coming soon)
has:image — finds waves with an attachments which is an image. (coming soon)
caption:[keyword] — finds waves with an attachment with caption containing [keyword].
filename:[keyword] — finds waves with an attachment with filename containing [keyword]. (coming soon)
mimetype:[keyword] — finds waves with an attachment with mimetype containing [keyword]. (coming soon)
tag:[tag name] — finds waves with the tag [tag name].
has:gadget — finds waves which contain a gadget.
gadget:[keyword] — finds waves which contain a gadget with name containing keywords. e.g. chess, fridge, map, risk, sokoban.
gadgeturl:[keyword] — finds waves which contain a gadget with urls containing keyword.
gadgettitle:[keyword] — finds waves which contain a gadget with a title containing keywords.
foo & bar — match waves with foo and bar.
You can use AND, or skip the operator altogether, as the logical and is the default.
foo | bar — match waves with foo or bar (or both).
foo OR bar — match waves with foo or bar (or both).
-foo — match waves that do not contain foo. (There is an outstanding bug that causes searches with only negative terms to fail. To get around it, use to:me -foo)
“foo … bar” — matches waves that contain the exact phrase “foo … bar” (There is an outstanding bug for live search not working with phrases)
foo & (bar | -baz) — matches waves that contain foo and either bar or do not contain baz.
“[multiple terms]” — match waves with one or more terms in sequence:
“hot dog” catches waves with the terms hot and dog in sequence. This is also required for other operators such as in:”new inbox” where say “new inbox” is a saved search.
XML Search
tags:subtag — find all waves which have this combination.
tag:[tag] — find all waves which have this .
attribute:[value keyword] — finds all waves which have < …. attribute=value …> where keyword is a token in value.
Wave ID
id:”” — find a wave with a specific wave id.
Zero Inbox
If you want to zero inbox, you can hack this temporarily by saving a search “my inbox” with the query:
in:inbox is:unread this:week. You can then use the menu option “Mark as read” in the wave panel.
Alternative zero inbox: in:inbox is:unread past:7days -is:mail
Saved Searches
A search can be saved using one of two methods:
Create a search in the search box and then press the Save search button at the bottom of the Digest panel.
Add a search using the searches Add button on the Navigation panel. Then add the search query and name of the search in the Saved Search popup panel.
Saved searches can be edited and managed using the pop-up menu which shows when hovering over the saved search in the searches section of the Navigation panel.
Filters are saved searches which also have an action to apply to all waves which match the saved search. The actions supported are
skip inbox – removes the wave from inbox. Whilst this wave continues to match the search, it will continue to stay out of the inbox. Skip inbox will shortly be renamed archive.
mark as read – Whilst the wave continues to match the search, it will be marked as read.
You can add a folder by using the Add button on the folders section of the Navigation panel. A folder is added by typing the folder name in the text box given and hitting enter.
Folders can be managed using the pop-up menu that shows when hovering over the folder on the Navigation panel.
Add folder – A subfolder can be added under the current folder.
Rename – rename the current folder.
Delete – delete the current folder.
Language Filter
Much thanks to Geoffrey Spear for the help and insight:
The problem is that these tags aren’t exclusive; if a Wave has any English in it at all it will show up under “lang:en” even if it’s mostly in another language. This is particularly a problem since the search terms themselves are all English so a Wave in, say, Portuguese about using Wave will tell people they need to use “with:whatever” and the system will see “with”, an English word and suddenly the Wave is in both lang:en and lang:pt.
“ lang:en -lang:es -lang:fi -lang:hu -lang:pt -lang:nl -lang:ja -lang:he -lang:fr -lang:ru -lang:sv -lang:zh -lang:de -lang:no -lang:da”
… is fairly effective, although you basically need to keep adding more as you find Waves not in one of these languages. Not a really good solution

A bunch of great ways to use Google Wave

The folks at LifeHacker have put together a great post today listing a ton of ideas on what Google Wave could be used for.  They asked readers for ideas, and got more than 600 responses.

The list of ideas:

  • Education: Increasing Interactivity and Collaborative Learning
  • Healthcare: Getting the H1N1 Vaccine Out Faster
  • Transportation: Controlling Air Traffic
  • Journalism: More Complete and Collaborative News Reporting
  • Saving Babies: Protecting and Helping Children
  • Creative Pursuits: Collaborative Storytelling
  • Family Life: Updating Loved Ones on Health Issues
  • Research: Getting Results Faster from Around the World
  • Foreign (and Mother-in-Law) Relations: Translating Real-Time
  • Fun: Organizing Little League
  • Disaster Relief: Saving People Stuck on Rooftops
  • Events: Planning a Wedding
  • Family Life: Organizing a Busy Schedule

Be sure to read through their full blog entry to see details about each idea.  What other ways do you plan use Wave?

Embedding Waves with the WordPress Plugin

We’re three weeks away from the day that Google really starts opening Wave up, and Mashable has a great article about one cool aspect of Waves — embedding them in sites.

There’ll be a variety of ways you can do it, but one very easy way will be using a plugin for WordPress called “Wavr”.  Once you install that plugin, you simply use the following code to embed one in your post:

[wave id=”wave-id”]

You’ll be able to change some options in the settings for fonts and colors, too.

The problem at this point is that you can only see embedded waves if you have access to a dev account for Wave.  Over time, that will change and these will suddenly get very useful.  If you’ve got access already, check out this post to see what it looks like.  If not, check out the screenshot below to see what an embedded wave looks like: