Google Wave, a Web-based tool to let people chat and collaborate in real time, is now open to the public.
The Google service brought a social dimension when it arrived with much fanfare a half year ago, but in that domain, it was overshadowed by Google Buzz. Buzz, built directly into the widely used Gmail, had a much better built-in user base from the start.
Making Wave public could help restore its fortunes.
"It's clear from the invaluable feedback we've received that Wave is a great place to get work done, in particular for teams working together on projects that involve lots of discussion and close coordination," Google Wave product manager Stephanie Hannon said Wednesday in a blog post. "If you tried Google Wave out a while ago and found it not quite ready for real use, now is a good time to come back for a second try."
Google is making Wave freely available to Google Apps users, too. "Google Wave is about getting work done," said Lars Rasmussen, a Wave leader.