3 Tips for Learning Google Wave

I’ve been pondering how new users can get up to up to speed on Google Wave (s goog) since writing “6 Tips for Using Google Wave on your First Project.” Learning Google Wave right now is going to require a “hands on” approach, because the platform’s still at an early stage, leaving its users to chart their own direction and usage scenarios.

While Google Wave breaks away from the traditional web-based collaboration models that many of us know, you can still apply your experience using web mail, web office applications and instant messaging to learn the product and use it productively for online collaboration with your project team and your clients.

Here are my tips for learning Google Wave:

  1. Spread your Google Wave invites judiciously. Perhaps the first step for learning Google Wave is to have others to play with. While my experience with Google Wave remains largely positive, I probably wouldn’t have had such a positive experience if I hadn’t spread my invites to close friends, colleagues and clients. Using Google Wave was a spur of the moment choice for my client and me because he received my invite just as we were having a chat session. This gave us each an opportunity to learn Google Wave on the fly.
  2. Dive right into Wave. Unfortunately, you aren’t going to be able to find a lot of third-party training and books about Google Wave at the current time. A quick search of Amazon.com shows that many Google Wave books aren’t going to hit the shelves well into the first quarter of next year. Even with the books and training materials that are popping up on the web right now (such as Trapani and Pash’s “The Complete Guide to Google Wave“), because the platform is so new, best practices have not been established yet. So my advice is to just to dive in and start using it with those clients and colleagues you sent your invites to.
  3. Join a public Wave. What if you have nobody who wants to use Wave with you? Then I recommend joining one of the many public Waves that are available. A public Wave can immerse you in an environment that you can use to familiarize yourself with the Google Wave platform. Take the time to find Waves on topics that interest so you can make constructive contributions to the wave.  You can find public Waves by entering a search term and adding “with:public.” Click “Follow” in the toolbar when you find a Wave that interests you. When you no longer want to follow a public Wave, you can click “Unfollow” in the toolbar.

It’s a great time to learn how to use Wave because the platform is still new. There is no established way of doing things and no bad user habits have taken root. You can help shape the thinking on how users are going to interact using this tool.

Share your tips for learning Google Wave below.