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Guide to Using Google Wave

written by: Arnold Zafra•edited by: Misty Faucheux•updated: 11/27/2009

So, you finally got into Google Wave? The thing is, starting to use it may not be as easy as it seems. Here, we give you some basic tips on getting started with "waving". Google Wave is a very powerful tool if you know how to use it to your advantage.

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    Reviewing Google Wave

    We've already told you the basic information about Google Wave in our previous article. But as a review, here's a reminder as to what Google Wave is all about.

    Google Wave is like a social spectrum, where its components - the Google Wave members interact, communicate, collaborate, share ideas in whatever forms - in real-time. "Real-time" is the key concept here. Google Wave is supposed to work in real time.

    The main component of Google wave is, of course, the wave, and the conversations that exist on a wave are called "wavelets." When you are replying to someone's wave, that reply is called a "wavelets." In a more common term, wavelet is almost similar to individual IM messages in an ordinary chat client. What's unique about a wavelets is the fact that when you are part of a wave, you can see read other member's wavelets as they type in their messages.

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    Basic Tips on Using Google Wave

    googlewave With the basics laid down, it's now time to create your own wave. It would be easier if somebody invited you to Google Wave. The person who invited you will be automatically added to your Google Wave contacts. You can see his/her account name on the left-side navigation window of your Google Wave account.

    There are two ways by which you can start up a conversation via wave between you and your contacts. One is by clicking on the "new wave" button at the top-left corner of the Search panel. Google Wave will open a new Window on the third column of your Google Wave account containing a black wave. That's where you will type in your message. After composing your message, click on done, and a new window will open up asking you to add participants to the wave that you just created. Simply select from your contacts list to add them to your wave.

    You can also create a new wave right into a contact's profile. Click on the contact's name from the contacts panel, and the profile window will open up. Simply click on the 'new wave" button to open a new wave in the third column. That person's avatar will be automatically added on top of the wave column indicating that you are "waving" with him. You can later on add new participants to the wave. Likewise, the first contact you added can also add new participants from his/her contact list.

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    How to Use Google Wave If Have No Contacts?

    wavepublic Now, what if you don't have any contacts on your Google Wave account? The first thing that you should do is to invite your friends and business contacts. Check if Google has given you the default 10 invites that you can freely give out. If you don't have the wave invites yet, the next thing that you should do in order to start using Google Wave is to participate in public waves.

    Notice the Wave search box on top on the second column of your Google Wave window? You can use that to search for public waves. Simply type the string "with:public", and press enter. Right below that search box, you will be presented with waves of public waves currently happening and updating in real time. If you're lucky enough to find a wave that interests you, you simply click on that wave to join.

    If you want to filter the waves by specific topics discussed, you may want to add a keyword to the wave search string that you used before - "with: public keyword". This will give you lesser waves, and you can easily join any of them.

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    And, tThere you go. Remember, Google Wave is a collaboration tool. So, there's no point in using it if you won't be communicating with anyone. If you have invites to give, give it to people with whom you think you will be collaborating. Or join those public waves.