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Google Wave invites stack up - who's still playing?

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Comment Now that the hype about Google’s minimalist and actually quite fragile real-time collaboration tool has died down, the ad broker is readying common task extensions that might make it a little easier to fiddle with.

Google Wave is, of course, currently at an unstable, preview stage. But that didn't stop hordes of people last year trampolining on Twitter and elsewhere in the hope of getting that golden ticket invite to taste the Mountain View Chocolate Factory's latest gobstopper.

The company did a great job of hyping its tool even before many in the developer community could consider taking a permissions-lite Wave seriously. But that hippie, new age bullshit thing is, according to Google, an important feature of the email-IM-and-everything-else-Web-2.0-splatter-gun platform.

But not everyone gets it.

"What's the point of Google Wave? We all scrambled to play with it and now that I have my own account, lots of invites for me to send out to others are just hanging around collecting dust," noted one Reg reader late last week.

It's a reasonable question. After all, Google had the nerve to spin out a half-baked product as a preview for people to play with in the hope of creating lots of buzz about the firm's ad-funded technology. Unsurprisingly, this being Google, the gamble paid off - the company scored tons of ink from newspapers excited about the possibilities of Google Wave.

Since then the firm's wonks have been working on extension ideas for the tool, and reminding anyone that might want to listen that the likes of Novell and Salesforce.com have also been happily toying with it. But alas, Google Wave isn't even close to being ready yet for the average user, who might want to bring all his or her various methods of web messaging under one roof.

Meanwhile, Google will make hay while the sun shines, especially as anyone who wants to activate their Google Wave invite will need to do so with a Google account.

Surely, Mountain View isn't simply shepherding everyone into Gmail by pointing at this clever, real-time, "if email had been invented now" tool that isn't even ready yet, is it? ®

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