1. Perry, William MA, RN

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The Internet has brought the spirit of global communication and collaboration to nurses and other healthcare professionals in ways never before thought possible. These resources are offered to expand your opportunities for discussion, reference, education, and research.


Early in the fall of 2009, Google started releasing accounts for Google Wave, an application designed improve collaboration and communication in ways that could not be accomplished by e-mail or discussion groups. It combines features of e-mail, discussion groups, instant messaging, and shared documents into a single application that is restricted to invited members. This hosted discussion or "wave" can contain plain text, images, documents, and even multimedia that can be shared with and manipulated by all members of the group in real time.


The real-time aspect is one dimension that makes this a very intriguing tool. If any members of a wave are online simultaneously, each member can see the other person typing or editing. Members can interact with each other, store documents, or create new content at the same time, and their work is visible immediately.


Another fascinating aspect of a Google Wave is the playback function. If a person is added to a wave that has been going on for some time, he/she can view a transcript of all activities. It seems like a quick way for a new participant to become current with what's going on with the group.


There are several videos on the Internet describing this tool. Google's original video is about 80 minutes long and is available at There are lots of help files and a user group at this site as well. A shorter version of the video (about 8 minutes) is available on YouTube at


An online guide has been published, and an electronic version is available for viewing online for free. Take a look at "The Complete Guide to Google Wave" by Gina Trapani and Adam Pash at The authors have created a frequently-asked questions list at


What could you accomplish with a multimedia discussion that allowed real-time collaboration and provided an archived view of everything that had been posted?


Although there are thousands of Google Wave users, when you go to the Web site (, you will see it is currently listed as a limited preview. You can request an invitation online, or you can receive an invitation from someone who already has an account.


William Perry, MA, RN