In a short and succinct tweet by Joakim Nejdeby, we finally have news of Google Wave in an Apps environment. With almost little to no fanfare.

Google Wave activated for our students, #googlewave #Google #GoogleApps #liu

Joakim Nejdeby on Twitter.

Joakim Nejdeby is the CIO of Linköping University, a large University in Sweden with some twenty-five thousand students. In an email exchange with Mr Nejdeby, I clarified some of the details of the roll-out. I asked if this was an official partnership with Google and if we could expect an announcement from them. He replied:

From what I understand this is a preview activated for a few customers using Google Apps. I expect the twitter and Facebook announcement [from Nejdeby himself] was the official announcement. We will likely add information on our student pages as well.

Email exchange with Joakim Nejdeby

Asked whether the student accounts were compatible with the current public Wave infrastructure, or if they were limited to sending waves withing their own domain Nejdeby replied:

I have not seen any observable difference between the regular Wave system and our preview. From what I can see there are no limitations in interactions between our users and the public system.

Email exchange with Joakim Nejdeby

GA with Wave

I’ve asked to connect with Mr Nejdeby (a fan of Google Wave from day one) on Wave to see how well the two systems interoperate. If it does indeed work as well as Nejdeby says, then this (to my knowledge) will be the first large scale public roll-out of Google Wave outside of the Google Public Preview opened last September. Linköping University has activated Google Wave on their domain for 31858 users and reports that they currently have close to seventeen thousand active Apps users. How many active Wave users this will translate to remains to be seen.

It may be by releasing Wave in contained environments such as universities, Google hopes to continue testing and expanding in an environment that is more receptive to the collaborative nature of Wave. One of the complaints leveled at Wave has been that people fail to see the need for another communication medium in their daily workflow. As a new technology without widespread use, it’s difficult to use on a daily basis as a user’s main means of communication. Perhaps with large businesses and education institutions on board Wave might see increased uptake as people learn how simple it can make internal collaboration. We may even see these large organisations driving a push to activate Wave for other companies and institutions as they get used to using them amongst themselves.

It should be noted that this opening up is not quite the announcement of full-scale federation that some Wave developers and users are hoping for. The Apps infrastructure is run by Google and managed by the individual organisations, so can more easily integrate with the public Google Wave service. Hopefully though, as Google Wave grows in popularity with education and business it will spur development of competing products on top of the Wave Protocol.

Update: I apparently missed that Google said they were making Wave available to select institutions “this fall”, 2009 soon after Wave was opened to the public.

Image by Joakim Nejdeby