First introduced at a Google developer conference last May, Wave offers APIs for developing extensions to the platform and embedding its conversations in websites and blogs. Interestingly, this initial version is still has a little rough around the edges in terms of functionality.
But, one of the exceptional prospects of Google Wave has been the ability to develop embeddable widgets enabling users to extend the functionality and add the features that they need to a wave. The new extensions gallery -- announced today -- appears as a link in the navigation panel that runs down the left-hand side of the Wave UI.
“We have just unfurled an initial version of our extensions gallery: simply look for “Extensions” in the navigation panel of Google Wave. The gallery is intended to make it easier for users to discover the fun and useful extensions you all are building with the Google Wave APIs,” Dan Peterson, Google Wave product manager, wrote.
Also, there are about 18 extensions listed at the moment, the gallery showcases extensions as a list of “waves” -- the multifaceted conversation threads that serve as the platform's basic building blocks. Also, there are two types of extensions for Google Wave, robots and gadgets. Robots are actual participants to a wave and are meant to automate tasks and respond to certain events or conditions. Gadgets are more like traditional widgets, they are stand-alone apps that live inside a wave.
Included in the extensions are those some Wave users have probably seen before -- like the popular “yes/no” voting gadget, for example, which lets you create polls via Wave. However, there are others that you may not be familiar with -- like the “iFrame Gadget” that allows you to embed webpages into a Wave or the “Likey Gadget” that provides a “like” (and “dislike!”) button for showing support for a particular topic, similar to those found on Facebook or Google Buzz.
The complete list of extensions includes the following:
- Wave Sudoku (play Sodoku with friends in a Wave)
- Extension Installer (for developers only)
- Colcrop (game)
- Yellow highlighter (highlight text)
- Napkin gadget (for doodles)
- Waffle (date-picker)
- Iframe gadget (embed webpages in a Wave)
- Yes/No/Maybe gadget (for polls)
- Map gadget (insert maps)
- Video Chat Experience (chat in Waves)
- Phone Conference (call your friends)
- Mind Map gadget (collaborate on diagrams)
- Likey gadget (like/dislike a topic)
- Pollo gadget (for surveys)
- Take-out gadget (for ordering out)
- AccuWeather (weather forecasts)
- And More
Once you install an extension, in most cases it is added to your toolbar and can then be accessed within a wave.
Users can find instruction on how to install the new extension when opening the first Wave in the new Extensions folder. According to the Google blog post, developers interested in submitting their extensions for inclusion in this gallery can do so by first submitting them for approval here. Google has also released a new Google Wave robots API (v2) for developers to try.
While Google Wave is still in private beta, though there are over one million users by now, there was a need for them to be able to find these extensions easier and for developers to get more exposure. This is why Google is now launching the Google Wave Extensions Gallery, an online repository of useful add-ons for the communications platform.