10 great alternatives to Google Wave

Real-time collaboration app Google Wave was officially added to the dead pool this week. Despite plenty of hype and excitement, it failed to attract the adoption that Google hoped for. The site itself is expected to stay up through the end of the year, but users are likely to already be wondering about where to turn next in Web-based collaborative software. Here's our list of a few of the most promising candidates for replacing Wave in your workflow.

The first alternative to get out of the way is, which we won't count in the 10, Google Apps. Many users simply went back to this suite when they discovered Wave would continue to be confusing and cut off from the rest of Google's products. Look for Google to try and integrate more bits and pieces of Wave's technology into Apps now that its demise is imminent.

One of the saddest events in Wave's history is when AppJet was acquired and their talent was subsumed into Google's Wave team. AppJet's flagship product, the real-time editor EtherPad, was a pure joy to use. Featuring an easy-to-use document editor, history playback, and accompanying chat, it was essentially a lighter version of Wave. You can now get a free pad from hosts such as the EtherPad Foundation or TypeWith.me.


Shareflow is probably the closest equivalent to Wave's format. Like Wave it is intended to reduce your email burden by drawing documents and conversations fluidly into a single page that can be simultaneously edited in real time. Unlike Wave though, Shareflow has great email integration, with each flow having a single address for posting to from your preferred email service. Shareflow allows for up to a gigabyte of storage on their free plan if you're interested.

Basecamp, Huddle, or Central Desktop. All are SaaS products worth taking a look at, but if you're moving directly from Google Wave, WizeHive is the only one in this class with a deal for those who must abandon Wave. The first 500 new users to sign up will get a year free with one of WizeHive's standard accounts.

Enterprise users should definitely explore SAP StreamWork, which is a collaborative decision-making tool. StreamWork, which has also appeared under the code names 12sprints and Constellation, was initially designed to integrate with the Wave Protocol, though obviously that has been resigned to the scrap heap now. Either way, StreamWork has a free version for you to try, and it will be interesting to see where it goes.

Last but not least, if your interest in Wave was primarily as a communication platform rather than something to actually work on documents with, then business microblogging apps might be a replacement that works for you.

Yammer was one of the first "Twitter for business" type of applications to appear on the scene, and has since grown to serve over a million users.

Socialcast may actually be the enterprise service most closely aligned with Wave's take on collaboration. It's approach is focused on richer activity streams, rather than simple Twitter-style microblogging. Braintrust is similarly a great way to organize group conversations around ideas to enable virtual brainstorming.

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