In the first major update to the Google Wave client in what feels like ages, the Wave team have implemented two new features that will make a big difference in managing your waves. The first fixes one of the most shocking things about the first release: that anyone you invited could come along and edit any part of your wave. Of course the point of Wave is collaboration, but sometimes it was conceivable that you might not like anyone to be able to hack away at a wave, particularly once a wave was made public. Many good useful waves were effectively destroyed by granting the public editing rights.

the read-only tool inaction{.s3-img}

Well, with the release of the Read-Only feature, you can now specify select users and groups as read-only participants, meaning they can see your waves in production, but can’t edit them themselves. Perfect for the thousands of informational waves that are available, particularly those that might not have been edited in a while but might be ripe for archiving. To make a user or group read-only, simply click on their icon and select read-only from the new drop down box.

The second feature is one of the other most requested tools - the ability to restor a wave to a former state. Those destroyed and damaged waves I mentioned? Now they have a chance of resurection, without the annoying cutting and pasting that went with the process before now. While playing back a wave, click Restore when you’re at the point before it all went pear-shaped. You won’t lose any data, as the state will be copied to the end of the playback and you can still see the changed that were made after that point.

Between these two new (some would argue vital) tools, Wave becomes more than a novel real-time experiment, and begins to take shape as the useful documenting, collaboration tool it always promised to be. Of course, there are still more changes needed before it becomes a reliable collaboration tool (revert single blips, read-only main blips with posting rights) and the team promise much more in their announcement post, but this is a terrific first step.