Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Google Wave For Meetings & Events — An Early Look!

Many of you read my article published on Sunday providing you a first look at the new web 2.0 tool Google Wave.  To view that article please click here.  I came across a very solid EBook, “The Complete Guide to Google Wave,” written by Gina Trapani with Adam Pash.  The book’s title is a bit of a misnomer as it is still a “work in progress” but I would recommend the book as it will help you become better acquainted with this application.google_wave_logo

Clearly Google Wave is in its infancy and is still in the beta testing phase.  It also has not been officially released to the public so its true potential is untapped as of yet.  That being said some basic features of this application seem to match up usefully with content delivery for meetings.

Here are some interesting ways Google Wave may be utilized at conferences and other types of events of the future:

  • Back Channel Conversation Tool — This application will thrive as an enhancement for Hybrid or Virtual Events.  There are two major online discussions about this I’ve seen thus far, a blog post from Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable, and then Charlie Osmond at the FreshNetworks blog.  Both contend Google Wave will be a much better platform than Twitter for “conference chatter.”  I agree… here’s why:
    • A Google Wave is a wiki-like page of annotations which evolve over the course of a presentation versus a Hashtag Twitter chat, which is a “stream of disconnected Tweets.”
    • Real-Time Collaboration — Whereas with Twitter there is a delay, for the posting of each tweet, with Google Wave it all evolves in one place, in real-time.  The end product is a  crowd-sourced write-up of a presentation neatly transcribed with key points and a record of audience comments all in one document.
    • Playback — using the applications “playback” feature event participants can review the history of the event which is a real benefit for late-comers, or for someone seeking a review of the session.

Note:  Both the above-mentioned Blog articles have a nice series of screen shots demonstrating visually how the wave collaboration process plays out.

  • Brainstorming Tool — For roundtable style sessions Google Wave can be used in place of Flipcharts.  One Wave would be created for each discussion topic and then groups collaborate to pool their ideas and document them for everyone to see in a wrap-up discussion with the entire group.  Virtual participants could even participate in these sessions using an audio or video gadget embedded into the wave itself.
  • Content Exchange — Session speakers will be able to use waves as vehicles for sharing various types of content integrated together.  For example in the same Wave users (speaker or audience) could embed on-the-spot streaming video, audio clips, pictures and audience polling tools.  Attendees (virtual or live) may post question blips and/or shared content adding to the presentation.  The possibilities are endless and exciting!  Speakers of the feature will function more as “content moderators” than “talking heads.”  The “panel discussions” of the past will evolve to audience-sourced panel interactions.

The more I think about this stuff, the more excited I get.  I am optimistic about the future potential of Google Wave, and other tools to come like it.  We are truly headed into an exciting era in the meetings and events industry!

I am going to keep marching on the Google Wave trail and as I come across new discoveries and ideas I will share them with you.  I also look forward to learning about your experiences with this new technology.  What could be better or different?  Please share your thoughts with us!

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