Google opened up Google Wave to everyone at the Google I/O show in San Francisco May 19, a fitting gesture for the real-time collaboration platform the company launched to great interest at the same event one year ago.
Google Wave is one big mashup of e-mail, instant messaging, photo and video-sharing combined with real-time text editing. Until today, the platform was rolled out in stages and there are more than 1 million active Wave users.
Lars Rasmussen, engineering manager for Google Wave, said he is confident Wave is now ready for the big time so the company made Wave available to all consumers and business users.
Google Wave is now part of Google Labs and users can navigate to wave.google.com and sign in with their Google account.
Wave is also now officially part of Google Apps, so Google Apps administrators can opt in to enable Google Wave free for their Google Apps Standard, Premier and Education edition users through the Labs tab in Google Apps.
Admins must go to their control panel, click Add more services, then click Add it now to turn on Google Wave. There is a caveat; Labs are not included in the Google Apps service level agreement, so Wave use is at the user's risk.
Rasmussen told eWEEK that since Wave was rolled out in stages over the last year, its sweet spot is "getting work done," particularly for a group or team of people. Students, teachers and programmers are among those using Wave to collaborate.
Google has also open-sourced its rich text editor, the driving force behind functionality that lets users type and edit each other's work in real-time.