Google Wave is now available to the public via the Web and as part of the Google Apps suite, the search giant said Wednesday at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco.
Lars Rasmussen, engineering manager and co-founder of Google Wave, said the communications and collaboration platform has matured to become a useful tool in the workplace.
"Google Wave is a product that people are starting to use to get real work done all over the world," he said, adding that its collaboration capabilities are useful in a wide range of projects.
Google Wave changes the way people work in "subtle, unexpected ways", according to Rasmussen. Many professionals use it to coordinate projects, but Wave is also proving useful to fifth grade school teachers that need to track student activities in real time and jump in if needed.
Brick-and-mortar shops are using Google Wave to track customer issues and prevent them from falling through the cracks, Rasmussen said.
Google Wave now includes the option of sending users e-mail notifications when changes are made, as well as tutorials and templates to help new users get up to speed on the product. "If you have any group or team, I think you'll find that Google Wave makes you more productive," Rasmussen said.
Google Wave is now much faster and stable than the preview version Google made available last September on an invitation-only basis, and it's also embedded throughout Google's I/O online conference session materials.
Google in March launched an updated version of its Robots API that made it easier for developers to embed a Wave into a Web site. Robots are automated participants within a Wave that can talk with other users and funnel in information from outside sources such as Twitter.
Also Wednesday, Google changed its approach so that Robots will no longer have to live on the Google App Engine and instead can live on the Web, according to Rasmussen.
Some Google partners have been actively exploring how to incorporate Google Wave into their products. At I/O, Salesforce.com will demonstrate how to embed Waves into Chatter, Salesforce's business oriented social networking service. SAP on Wednesday said its StreamWork collaborative decision making service is now integrated with Wave through SAP's support of Wave's open federation protocols.
The work partners are doing with Wave is part of the original product roadmap Google envisioned when it unveiled Wave at last year's I/O conference, Rasmussen said.
"We always wanted Wave to be an open technology that people can use to build their own service and have it integrated in real time," he said.