It certainly can't have escaped you that Google Wave has arrived but, whether you've managed to get an invite or not, what you might have missed is the point of the whole exercise. Yes, it's a new way of communicating, mixing e-mail, IM, extensions, gadgets and all sorts of other things and, yes, you can embed them but how does this help your everyday day life?
The recently announced app store will certainly help get a few ideas flowing but here are a few suggestions on how you can actually make Google Wave work for you right now.
This is probably the most obvious category of use for Google Wave. It's all very well if you're working on a project by yourself but if you're writing music, a script, a speech, designing a poster or website or any kind of creative collaboration, then a Wave is an excellent way to do it. It adds the real time element so that you can bounce ideas off your partners just as you would face to face. It records all your suggestions whether or not you think they'll make the final cut at the time and, in larger groups with more specialised individuals, it allows each person to see what everyone else is working on. That way, you won't get so many terrible clashes of concept where people have got the wrong idea. For example, the person writing the music for a film will be able to see the footage as it is created from when it's first shot through editing and post production and will have a better idea of the tone for their work. In large groups, the wave can act like a central hub where all the work is not only collated but also focused.
EXAMPLES - Script writing, music writing, speech writing, web design, filmmaking, project management
Probably the most exciting and accessible use for Google Wave, as it stands, is in event planning from road trips to weddings. Rather than knocking e-mails back and fourth between unwieldy address lists, instead all of the ideas can be stored and the communication held on the wave without having to worry about people missing the message or contacting people on the wrong phone or e-mail. It also provides a single location where the complete information of the event can be accessed. You could plan a holiday with a group of friends and include details of flights, accommodation, maps, opening hours of tourist attractions and images of places you'd like to visit as well as perhaps the sharing of photos afterwards. You could even embed the whole thing into your blog afterwards to show people what your vacation was like.
EXAMPLES - Stag & hen Dos, holidays, road trips, weddings, business events
No, not the fashion industry but the kind of extensive planning with plenty of variables and too much information for a single piece of paper. One of the great things about Wave is the space for Extensions which come as either Robots or Gadgets. These can alter both themselves and the entire wave with live information pulled in from the outside world. One good use for these would be to keep the content of a wave up to date - whether that be football scores or the price of oil. If a collaborative, multimedia document then has the ability to update itself, you can use it to model or plan any complex situation. Through that, you can know how you wish to respond to the real-life situation. Simple examples might be household finances. You could have a robot set to bring in the effect changing interest rates might have on your monthly household expenditure and show you where to best spend or save the money. It would adjust the plan according to your preset parameters. This way you don't have to keep writing new models but just develop the same one as your venture grows.
EXAMPLES - Business plans, household budgets, statistical analysis, gambling patterns
There's no substitute for actually being there when it comes to teaching but Google Wave is as good as you can get if not. Whether we're taking about a teacher holding a class to an entire group of students with diagrams, written words and active participation or, for our practical purpose, something as simple as helping your parents fix their PC, it's an excellent way to do so. Best of all, these classes will remain online for them to access any time they need rather than have to rely on memory or bother you again while you're busy doing something else.
EXAMPLES - Remote learning, helping some fix their computer, giving accurate directions to a location, writing a shopping list for someone else
From the set up point of view, it's probably more a suggestion for a business or a web enthusiast but very soon we might find ourselves using Google Wave as a commenting system on sites and forums. The point here is that it allows users to watch conversations happen while being part of them. So, rather than make a comment and refresh the page for the next five minutes to see if anyone else replies before forgetting about it and never returning to that page again, you'll be able to see people typing as you are doing so too. Doubtless it will help fuel internet rage but at least we should get through these issues a little faster - say over just 10 minutes of your lunch break rather than the whole hour.
EXAMPLES - live forums and web article commenting
As it stands, there's still no absolute dead cert use that'll see Google Wave shoot through the roof as Twitter did last year but that doesn't mean there isn't still plenty you can get out of it if you have a go. The point is to try. At the least, when it does take off, you'll be able to say that you were there in 2009.