Google is making familiar tools like email and office applications much more collaborative than traditional software, but with Google Wave, we started with a blank slate to try new approaches to teamwork without the constraints of existing applications. Today – one year after first introducing Wave – we’re extending Google Wave (Labs) to businesses, schools and organizations to let more people try this tool and to learn how we can improve the Google Apps suite.

Since we began previewing Google Wave last fall, we’ve consistently heard that Wave shines in small group settings where teams need to discuss and debate as they create content together, like developing an engineering project plan, creating a trip itinerary or building an event invitation list. For example, you can learn how teams at Deloitte use Google Wave to build consensus around technical design documents and other content.

Google Wave has a few characteristics making it uniquely-equipped for these kinds of discussion-heavy, collaborative tasks:

  • Discussion in context with your content – When you have a question or suggestion about something you see in a wave, you can have a conversation right in the wave with other participants. When you reach consensus, you can clean up your wave by finalizing the content and removing the completed discussion.

  • Logical information structure – You can respond anywhere within a wave, not just at the very end, so you end up with an organized record that follows the flow of the conversation.

  • Revision playback – Wave preserves a timeline of how a wave evolved, so when someone adds you to an existing wave, you can play back the history to see how it evolved to its current state. Playback lets you see content in its logical and chronological context.

  • Extensions – Extensions bring rich, dynamic functionality into waves. Google provides a number of useful extensions (like voting gadgets and maps) but there's an ever-growing library of extensions created by third-party developers. Organizations can even create extensions tailored to their own needs.

    Next time you need to create consensus among a small team as you create content together, consider test driving Google Wave. Starting today, Google Apps administrators have the option to let their users try Google Wave. In the administrative control panel, click 'Add more services', then click 'Add it now' to enable Google Wave.

    To learn more about how your organization might find Google Wave useful, we invite you to join our webcast on Wednesday, May 26th at 9:00 am PDT. The Wave team will be on hand to share real world use case from businesses and other organizations, and to answer your questions. Register for the webcast