One of the problems with Google Wave for the non-geek crowd has been how you know you have a new wave?
But most of these don’t figure in the non-geek arsenal for managing the wash of information from the internet. And for regular folk convincing them to use Wave without these sorts of notifications will be hard simply because they don’t want to bother checking for new waves as well as new emails.
Convincing them may have just gotten easier however with the release of integrated email notifications for your Wave inbox. In a post on the official Google Wave Blog, Ged Ellis explains how to turn on email notifications for new waves. Using the drop down list next to the inbox link (it’s hidden until you hover over it) you can choose an email address to have notifications sent to. The tool even picked my Google Apps email even though it’s not my official Wave address because I’ve set it as primary in my Google profile.
In the Google Wave Blog Ged goes on to say:
If you want to use Google Wave with your friends, family or colleagues who aren’t logging in frequently, help them to turn on notifications. Then, they can get updates on their Google Wave account, even if they mainly stick to checking their email inbox.
Perhaps this feature was always on the cards, or maybe it was a reaction to the <a href="http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&safe=off&q=google+wave+fail”>waning interest in Wave from the geek community. By making it easier to get notifications people might start inviting friends who might otherwise be uninterested in another tool to check. I know I’ll be inviting my wife and a couple of buddies that I’ve previously thought might be uninterested thanks to this addition.
However it’s still a long way from the ultimate integration I see is necessary for Wave to finally catch on - using Wave as a full email client. As long as email and waves are two separate entities in two separate products there will still be two places someone must visit to get both the old (email) and new (wave) forms of communication. Notifications via email just makes this more obvious. Ideally Wave should be usable as a hub for all sorts of communication. Currently the closest we have to this ideal is email, but it’s dependent on services sending out notifications. With Wave, the potential for any third-party to integrate services via bots and gadgets gives Wave a clear advantage.
All said though, the notifications are a welcome addition, and will make convincing friends and family to join that much easier. Time will tell if it helps Wave get the consistent user numbers it needs to take off.