Riding Google’s Wave: tips & tricks

wave on android and iphone as found on flickr (user tekalpha)So you’ve finally received your Google Wave invite, you logged on and now you’re feeling utterly lost and alone? Don’t worry, everyone does at first. Here are some tips & tricks that might help you to surf those waves fearlessly.

  • You can play with the other kids in public waves, just enter “with:public” in the search box, optionally combined with one or more keywords.
  • You can make your own wave public as well:
    • add “public@a.gwave.com” to your contacts (last time I checked pressing the submit-button didn’t work, but hitting ‘enter’ on your keyboard does the trick)
    • add that ‘public’ contact to the wave you want to make publicly accessible
    • optionally add tags to your wave for easy discovery
  • Those public waves sure are great, but there’s always a but!
    • Making an entry public can cause a lot of people to come on by (esp. if you’re waving in English and your wave has content that those darn geeks might search for).
    • And your passers-by automatically have read & write access to all content in your public wave.
  • You can add all sorts of non-human actors to your wave as well. Your can find a non-exhaustive list of such robots and gadgets on http://wave-samples-gallery.appspot.com/. The Wolfram|Alpha robot is particularly fun to interact with; ask a question (between square brackets) and it’ll (try to) answer with a reply in the wave.
  • Anxious to know if there are new replies in your waves but don’t want to keep that memory hog (yep, Wave still eats RAM for breakfast) open all day long? There’s a Firefox plugin for that, which will periodically connect with Wave and display the number of new replies.
  • You can also access Wave on your mobile, it should more or less work on Android-devices and on the iPhone. Just go oto wave.google.com on your handset and fearlessly click through when you’re presented with a warning about browser compatibility.
    • But it seems rather slow, might be too much data being pumped through that 3G+ connection?
    • It does not work entirely on my HTC Hero; the original message in a wave shows, replies don’t. Did HTC somewhat screw up when customizing the stock Android browser?

You can find more great wave tips (with a nice cheat sheet for keyboard shortcuts) on http://lifehacker.com/5376138/google-wave-101. Just one example maybe, which might save you quite some time when you’re participating in a large public wave: press ‘space’ to go to the next unread message.