The most long-awaited feature (besides the seemingly dead “Draft” button) has finally been imlemented by the Google Wave team. That’s right, Remove Participant is here! What this means if you’re not an addicted Wave user, is that wave authors now have total control over who comes and goes from their waves.


This is a big deal for Google Wave. The button has been there since the beginning, but grayed out and unusable. It’s taken some of the shine off Wave that until today you were unable to recall waves or remove people added accidentally.

It works in a pretty straight forward way. You decide someone should not be a participant any more and you click remove. The person who is removed sees a big red X on the wave in their inbox and opening the wave shows the last thing they were able to see before you removed them. If you remove them before they even open the wave, they won’t even know it existed!


Part of me balks at the idea of removing waves right out from under their noses if they haven’t opened them. It feels somewhat dishonest - but it’s actually just fixing a email shortcoming! I think we’ve gotten so used to the idea that once something is sent, it can’t be unsent that it feels a bit weird to actually be able to do it again. Keep in mind though that this probably isn’t foolproof. If for example someone’s waves become “unsynchronised” while you are removing them from the wave, they might still see it - leaving you thinking that you got to it in time.

Another big issue in the months since launch has been Wave abuse. Waves have been destroyed by malicious (and accidental) addition of bots, or overwhelming the wave with large amounts of spammy text. At the moment, the best way to deal with this has been to reduce the abuser’s participation to “Read-Only” and report them to the abuse team. This remains the best way to halt an ongoing attack, but now it’s also possible to clean up after an abuser by removing the sign they were ever there in the first place.