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Read Only Google Wave

I have been using Google Wave, ever since I got the developer sandbox access in July 2009. Subsequently, I got the invite for the Google Wave Preview. I started putting Google Wave into an obvious use – documentation. For example: I wrote a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about Google Wave itself.

But hell broke loose, when I made the Wave “public”. While it was thrilling to see the comments of the participants, the Wave no longer looked like an organized list of questions and answers. Thanks to the blips (messages) from others inserted in between. What I wanted then, is launched now by Google – Read-only participants.Here is how it works. After adding a participant to a Wave, click on the participant’s photo (at the top of the Wave). On the pop-up window, select “Read only” from the dropdown (at the bottom right). Click on the close link (x) on the top right.  Henceforth, the participant will not be able to write or edit a blip. But the participant will be able to see the blips as before and, as they are typed.

Use Cases
Following are some possible use cases for read-only Waves:

  • To share final or published documents
  • Collaborative editing to start with, read-only access after finalization of a document
  • To segregate participants into logical roles – collaborators and consumers.
  • Embed (on a Web page) a read-only Wave with content, followed by a full access Wave for comments. This would give a blog like look-n-feel

What’s Next
Having tasted this feature, I wish I can have the following facilities too, in the near future:

  • Access control at Blip level (overriding the Wave’s access control)
  • Besides read-only, permissions to “Create Blips” and “Edit Blips”. Good to have would be a separate permission to “Delete Blips”

Note that, alongside the read-only feature, Google has also launched a feature to restore Wave from Playback. For more, refer to this blog post.

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