Google Wave, the latest tool in development at Google, offers workflow and collaboration capabilities that will be of interest to technical documentation teams. With Google Wave’s open API, there’s the potential for developers of Help Authoring Tools to integrate Wave into its application and into published Help.
The first 50 minutes of the video below demonstrates Wave’s capabilities:
We can see a number of potential applications in technical documentation:
1. Embedded into online Help. Here the potential benefits are in providing real time conversational support for users within online Help.
2. Managing documentation projects. Wave could make the process of gathering information from Subject Matter Experts and reviewing drafts a little easier, through its collaborative documents capabilities. Also, the playback feature offers a new approach to version control.
3. Re-use of content. Wave appears to turn messages and replies into components. You can drag and drop chunks of email threads into other conversations, Blogs, bug tracking software and elsewhere. Could these, perhaps, be embedded into online Help in a useful way?
4. Multi authoring. More than one author can edit the document at the same time.
5. Drag and drop hyperlinking.
Wave has some very attractive capabilities, and it is something we should all await with interest.