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Google Wave could be the next big thing in social media, and the lucky 100,000 who got invites to beta-test this new communication platform are probably having a blast playing around with it. For those of you who don’t know, Google Wave combines email, instant messaging, social networking, web chat, and wikis into one real-time communication platform. Through Google Wave, you can converse in real time (as in see what your friends are saying as they type them out), drag and drop files, enjoy applications and games from third-party developers, and embed your “wave” (conversation) onto your blog. These are just some of the many features of Google Wave, and it’s easy to see how this can possibly change the face of social media if it takes off.
People have a lot of questions about Google Wave, but the question that keeps popping up everywhere is, How do I get a Google Wave invite? According to Google’s support, there are four ways for you to get a Google Wave invite.
1) You signed up to get a Google Wave account. Back in May when Google Wave was first announced, Google put up a request form for invites. Most of the 100,000 invites went to those who were able to put their names on that list early on.
2) You have a Developer Preview of Wave account. For some months, the Sandbox version of Google Wave has been open for a group of developers who are in charge of testing Wave, reporting bugs, and building Wave extensions. All of them are getting Wave accounts.
3) Paid users of Google Apps might get Wave accounts. It’s likely that Google will also prioritize companies who requested for invites, such as schools that use Google Apps.
4) You receive an invite from someone with a Wave account. Remember how Gmail was initially open to a few people who were given early invites? Those first users of Gmail (I was one of them) were given several invites so they could get their friends to try out the service too. The same thing goes for Google Wave. According to Google,
We’ll ask some of these early users to nominate people they know also to receive early invitations — Google Wave is a lot more useful if your friends, family and colleagues have it too. This, of course, will just be the beginning. If all goes well we will soon be inviting many more to try out Google Wave.”
So these are the only four ways you can start using Google Wave now. I think most people will have to be content with begging other people for Google Wave invites.