Like most everything Google does, they give you the core product and let other people create the tools to use it; Google Wave is no exception. If you would like to read more about Google Wave, Joshua did an outstanding job in a couple earlier posts. Read them here and here.
Below are the most popular desktop applications and plug-in for Google Wave. Now keep in mind, Wave is very simple and doesn’t have a lot of bells, whistles and blinky lights, so the applications don’t really have a lot to work with just yet. I am sure later on, more apps and more features will be available.
Waver is an Adobe Air app, making it the only cross platform app of the bunch. It offers the same basic functionality as going to the site, just in a smaller stand alone window.
Using the two buttons and the search bar, you can manage your contacts, view lists of Waves, create new and reply. There is a search bar just like in Gmail and the same types of search shortcuts.
All of these are pretty much just like you have on the site. The main difference, is you only have one window, whereas the Wave site has multiple panes.
2. Google Wave Add-On (Update: no longer exist)
The Firefox add-on is what I use most frequently. It is very basic and more of a notifier/shortcut link than anything.
The add-on resides in the statusbar. When one of you have a new or updated Wave in your inbox, it will display the unread count. To get to your Wave inbox, simply double click the icon; that’s it.
In the settings menu, all there is to adjust is the intervals when it checks for updates, the timeout and your username and password.
Waveboard is a Mac only desktop application. It is another simple application that allows you to access your Waves in an identical stand alone screen. There really isn’t any noticeable difference between the web app and Wakeboard aside from the Growl-like notifications. An iPhone app on the way.
This application is a lot like using the next one on the list.
Fluid (Mac only) isn’t specifically a Wave desktop application, however is does give you all of the same functionality you would get from going to Google Wave’s web page.
If you would like to read more, here is a post from last spring that will explain it a little more in depth.
In a nutshell, Fluid allows you to “separate” a web page from your browser and turn any web app or web page into a desktop app. It even adds a Dock icon. By doing this, the new “application” functions like the web application, but doesn’t need a browser.
As you can see, this will give you all of the functionality of Google Wave, because it IS Google Wave.
All-in-all, these applications are pretty simple. Not because they aren’t doing exactly what you need them to do, it’s because there isn’t a lot to spice up yet. I can see things getting very interesting later on when more people start adopting and defining clear uses for the infant collaboration tool.
What do you think the future applications will need to offer to make your Wave-ing easier?