Google Wave 101
Figure 1: source: lifehacker.com
So you've snagged an invitation to Google Wave—or a pal is sending one your way—and you've already taken a look at what to expect. Let's dive deeper into Wave features, etiquette, and extensions.
Learn Wave's Keyboard Shortcuts
Every good webapp has a full set of keyboard shortcuts for getting around and performing the most common actions, and happily Google Wave is no exception. While Wave is still missing common shortcuts (j/k, please?), there are a few you must know now. Here are the ones to learn first:
Arrow keys: Move up/down within a list of waves, and left/right from inbox to open wave panel with your arrow keys. Spacebar: Go to the next unread wave in a list Ctrl+E: Edit a selected wave Shift+Enter (in edit mode): Finish editing your wave; equivalent to clicking the "Done" button Enter: Add a reply to a selected wave directly under it Shift+Enter (in view mode): Add a reply to the bottom of a list of waves
Here's the full list of keyboard shortcuts. Alternately, you can click on the image below to see them all.
Filter Waves with Advanced Operators and Saved Searches
Wave is a very Googly product, so searching is simply a matter of typing a keyword into the search box. But like Gmail, Google Wave also offers several advanced search operators that let you find waves based on who they're with, what they're tagged, and other attributes. For example, to see all the public waves—that is, waves in which anyone using Wave can see—use the with: operator. In fact, if you're feeling lonely in Wave, the first Wave search you should try is with:public. To save a search for reuse, click on the "Save Search" button on the bottom right of your Wave inbox. When you save a search you can also specify filter actions for all the waves that match it. Right now the only choices are "Archive" and "Mark as read." Once you run that with:public search, every public wave you read will end up in your inbox, which becomes overwhelming almost immediately. So save your with:public search and check off "Archive" so they don't clutter up your inbox. (You can also "Mute" chatty public waves that did make it into your inbox if you're not interested in every new update.)
The opposite of with:public, the with:me search is very useful for just seeing waves that are explicitly with you (not with the public group). To limit your results to only waves you've updated, use by:me. Other search operators include tag: for tags, and has: for attachments like images, files, and gadgets. For example, has:gadget returns waves with gadgets; has:image returns waves with images in them, and has:attachment returns waves with gadgets, images, or files. You can combine search operators, like with:public has:gadget, and use the minus sign to exclude waves as well, like -has:image. Here's the full list of Wave's advanced search operators.
Make a Wave Public
Now that you know how to find public waves, you probably want to make one of your own waves public. Problem is, there's no one-click button to make a wave public. The trick is to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contacts list. To do so, click the + button on the bottom right of your Contacts module. Type email@example.com into the Address field, and even when Wave says "User does not have a Google Wave account", press Enter. The public group will appear in your contacts list, as shown. Add public to any wave you want to make public, but be prepared: Public waves often get destroyed by newbs and bots who haven't been in Wave long enough to grok the etiquette (see below). Also note that if you switch computers, you may have to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contacts list again.
Know Wave's Bot Etiquette (and Bounce Unwanted Bots)
One of the biggest problems with public waves is that anyone can edit them or add recipients to them: including content-changing, and sometimes busted, bots. When you do your with:public
search, you'll find dozens of waves that have been destroyed by newbs adding bots to them that delete or mangle the existing content so bad that even playback is broken. Good Wave etiquette dictates that you don't add bots to public waves. If you want to mess with a public wave, from its menu choose "Copy to New Wave" and go to town with your private copy.
If you've created a public wave and someone added a bot to it that you want out, add the Bouncy bot to your contacts (email@example.com). Then, add Bouncy to the wave, and reply to it adding the command bounce:botaddress, replacing botaddress with the email address of the bot to bounce. Bouncy will oust the unwanted bot from your wave. This only works on bots. After Bouncy's done his job, you can delete the wave with the command and Bouncy's response. Update: The Google Wave team has enabled the "Remove" button for bots only, obviating the need for Bouncy. To remove an unwanted bot from a wave, click on its icon at the top o the wave and lean on the "Remove" button. This only works on bots, not humans.
Garden Your Waves
Like a wiki, useful and popular waves require oversight and gardening, or else they fall in to disrepair or go out of date or get vandalized (especially if they're public). You can oversee, clean up, edit, and update any wave you're a participant in, and everyone will appreciate it if you do.
First, empty "blips" or replies are a common occurrence around Wave, which is still kind of twitchy in different browsers and new to a lot of folks who might accidentally hit Enter when they didn't mean to reply. Delete empty blips when you come across them by clicking on the wave action drop-down on the top right of it, and choosing "Delete." To automate this process on waves you create, add the Sweepy bot (firstname.lastname@example.org) to your contacts and to the wave itself. Sweepy will not delete existing empty blips, but it will delete any newly-added empty replies automatically. (Sweepy is one of the very few bots that may supersede the "never add bots to public waves" rule, as Sweepy's functionality cleans up the wave. For more on bots and gadgets, see this Google Wave Extensions list.)
If a wave becomes totally destroyed and you want to restore it to a former useful state, use its playback feature. Pause at the revision you want, and use the "Copy to a new wave" menu item to fork it into a new copy.
Bookmark a Custom Wave Layout
Netbook owners or those who keep Wave open in a small window appreciate the ability to minimize unneeded Wave modules and maximize the reading or writing area on the wave you're working on at the moment. To load Wave with certain modules minimized by default, you can use a custom Wave URL with the #minimized parameter. For example, https://wave.google.com/wave/#minimized:nav,minimized:contact launches Wave with the Navigation and Contacts modules minimized. The https://wave.google.com/wave/#minimized:nav,minimized:contact,minimized:search URL minimizes Navigation, Contacts, and Search panes as shown here.
URL-observers will also notice that every individual wave has an ID that appears in the URL when you click on it. This means you could bookmark or IM a link to a public wave to anyone on Wave.
What Doesn't Work in Wave
The Wave Preview is a pre-beta webapp, and lots of things aren't working or just simply aren't implemented yet. From the "it's not just you" department, here are some notes on what's not working:
Some bots and gadgets: A couple of bots I mentioned in my first look at Google Wave worked in the Developer preview, but don't work in the regular preview, namely Bloggy, Polly, and several others. The best way to see if a bot works is to just try it, or search for its name and the with:public operator to find discussions about it. Requests, or waves from other servers: The Requests link in the Navigation pane is presumably for you to approve waves that come from other servers. However, while
Overall, Wave is a rich platform with a huge community of people discovering more of its ins and outs and quirks and workarounds every day. Wave users, what are your favorite tricks and tips for getting more out of Wave? Post up your comments below or in this public wave
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