Google's real-time collaboration platform, Google Wave
, was unveiled roughly a year ago amid a ton of hype at the I/O developer conference. Although it seemed quite promising at first, combining the functions of email, instant messaging, wikis, and blogs in a framework that facilitates communication, since launch users were put off by its complexity and apparent lack of focus. The excitement over Wave quickly died down and most users just forgot about it.
Today the search giant is using the same venue to announce a revamp of the service, making it available to any home user or Google Apps customer without invitations as part of Google Labs. Lars Rasmussen, engineering manager for the product, said he is confident Wave is now ready for primetime as the trial period has served to make it faster, much more stable and easier to use. If you haven't tried it in a while, among the new features are email notifications when waves change, easier navigation to unread parts of a wave, permission management options and new extensions.
They've also included a collection of templates that should make it more obvious what Wave can be useful for. It will be interesting to see how Wave fares this time around, with less hype and more functionality built into the service.