The coursework in the Software Engineering module in Computer Science at the University of Reading has been to design and implement a Board game. The game had to incorporate Software Engineering. It has been great fun to do, although testing at times with team indecision and dispute.

One member of the group was unable to be contactable whilst not at home and also only limited communication whilst he was at home due to lacking a broadband connection. However, amongst the rest of us I thought it would be a great test, experience and useful to use Google Wave in order to collaborate and communicate. Upon receiving an invite from Shirley Williams to join Google Wave I set about inviting the other members of the team.

Being completely new to the concept of Google Wave it took me a while to find my way around the application and begin to use it in the way I wanted. This didn't take too long and in no time I was collaborating with Pete in no time. Quite a change from seeing 'X is writing a message' to actually seeing the message they are typing, this both has advantages and disadvantages. It means that you may start to anticipate what they are about to say and begin a response of your own, however, some of the time it is wasted as the other decides to change what they are typing.

My Google Wave experience was made easier by using a Google Chrome extension (Google Wave Notifier). This meant that I could see if I had new messages without going to Google Wave itself. It also enabled me to customise the page as I saw it by hiding the navigation pane etc. It is possible to just bookmark it to do the same though just a search and you can find it easily enough.

During the more pressing times of our project, deadlines mainly, we were unfortunate enough to experience a few wave crashes and, it seemed, data corruption. Certain files would not load, others would not be available to view or download. This meant some delays occurred during our busiest times.

Effectively the way our team used Google Wave was like a collaborative word processing document. With the ease of correcting later on and the playback feature, it was easy to see the changes that others had made upon viewing the updated wave.

As it is still in preview; features come and go, go offline, break, but that's all part of the fun of using something different and new. It allowed us to refer to the 'document' in team meetings as well as each of us having access once at home. However, with just a few miss-clicks the Wave can become cluttered and messy as un-deletable objects can appear, but I guess that's because it's something they want to monitor in the preview.
Overall a great experience with Google Wave. I'm sure I will continue to use it in the future as well. Give it a shot, see what you use it for.