Google Wave Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I found this on a Wave and though it was worth putting up on a public blog. Cheers!


This is a public FAQ. Please feel free to edit the top portion, keeping it clean and concise, deleting redundant text. As Wikipedia says, "Be Bold".

The content of this FAQ is licensed under the Public Domain, so as to be compatible with Wikipedia et al. You are considered to agree to that by editing here.

If you really want to add a wave comment or reply, do so at the bottom, rather than inserting it inline in the actual FAQ where it will break the flow. But in Wikipedia style, we'll probably want to split commentary off to another "discussion" wave somehow, so don't count on your comments staying here.

Getting started
Why don't I know what to do when I get here?
It was difficult to figure out this much. It appears we need a welcome wave when we join the service to understand how it works.
Welcome to Wave has links to several other getting started waves created by Wave developers to help you learn the UI, keyboard shortcuts, how to use search to manage your workspace.
As of July 23, search for public waves has been implemented. For more info try these searches:
with:public tag:welcomewaves
with:public tag:help
with:public tag:faq

Where is the documentation?
Resources within the Sandbox.
with:public tag:welcomewaves

Resources Outside of the Sandbox

Where is the sample code?

Sharing waves
Public waves
A public wave is a wave that all users with a sandbox account can access even if they are not explicitly added as participants of the wave.
Note: If you want to see updates to a public wave in your inbox, you must become a participant of the wave. Another option (see below) is to define and save a search that would return the wave and check Searches folders instead of the inbox.

How do you make a wave public?
To allow all users access to your wave, add the special address as a participant of the wave.
Note: You can link to a public wave and anyone [with a sandbox account?] will be able to open it and participate in it. However, unlike sending it to them directly or via a group it does not spam their Inbox.

How do we find/lookup this user?
You need to add to your contacts (either through the external contacts manager or through the wave client).

How do you then share that wave with other users? Ctrl+L and wave ID to create a link?
[If you are using Chrome] you can drag and drop your wave into other waves to create a hyperlink.
It's also possible to select "get wave ID" from the Debug menu at right top of the page. Copy this url, mark some text you want to transform into the wave link and press ctrl+l. You will get a popup window where you can paste your wave ID. Note: You must be in edit mode to do this.

How can I find other public waves?
As of July 23, public waves are searchable.
You can refine the search in various ways. For example,
with:public tag:help
with:public about:avatar

What does yellow box 'The wave is published at an unknown url.' at the top of the wave mean?
It means that the wave has a public url.

Why do I get the message "You are not a participant in this wave"?
The wave is not a public wave and you are not a participant.
The link to the wave is wrong.
You are a participant via the wave-discuss group but you were not a member of the wave-discuss group at the time the wave-discuss group was added to the wave.

Embedding waves
How do I embed a Wave to my blog?

Is it true that embedded wave can only be viewed in browsers with Google Gears >=
No, you can also view it with earlier versions ( works for example), but drag-and-dropping images is not supported in earlier versions.

How do you add yourself to a wave (like this one) without editing it or adding a comment?
Click the "+Add" button that is in the top bar with all of the other participants' avatars. Type your own username in the search box that appears and hit enter.

Is an embedded Wave viewable by non-Wave users?
No. Currently, you need a Wave account to view the embedded Waves.

What will happen to our sandbox accounts when Wave goes public?
Brian Kennish: We're going to try to migrate data, but no guarantees. You should treat everything in the sandbox as though it might get deleted.

Can my other friends who did not go to Google I/O sign up to use the dev preview of Wave?
Have them fill out the Google Wave Sandbox Account Request and the Wave devs will get them on as soon as possible (which will likely be a few weeks at the earliest). Source: Gregory Dalesandrev

What browser release should I be on?
You can switch between the chrome "channels" (stable, beta, dev) using the channel changer.
3.0+ is recommended, though 2.0 seems to work (though not that well)
4.0 seems to work okay
iPhone 3G2 V. 3.2 works okay, little slow
Internet Explorer and Opera are not supported
Midori (linux experimental build )

Editing in a wave

Why is there no "modeless" editing?
I have to click the pen at the top of the wavelet and then the done button on the bottom. Isn't that unnecessary?
Why is still unknown. However keyboard shortcuts ease the pain. For example:
To edit a document (blip), select it and press Ctrl-e.
To save your edits, press Shift-enter.

Are there any keyboard shortcuts?

Edit Toolbar
Add your comments to the Issue 78 at google-wave-resources to show support for a floating edit toolbar.

How do I add a link?
Click on the G+ tool and search for it.

But how do I insert a link when I already know the URL?
Select some text, then hit Ctrl+L and it will open a window where you can paste a save id or URL.
If you want to link to another wave, open a document (blip) in Edit mode and drag a wave into it. [Chrome only?]

If I can't drag a wave to create a link, how do I find the wave ID to link to?
Get the wave ID from the Debug menu.

How do I remove a link?
You edit the wave and delete it.

How do I tag a wave?
Click the small (+) button below the wave. Type the tag and then press return.
Current tags appear to the left of the button.

How do I create an inline reply?
Two ways:
Select (highlight) the text you want the inline reply to appear after and press ENTER.
Select a blip. Press Ctrl-e. If necessary reosition the cursor where you want the inline blip to be position (without adding any space). The press Ctrl+Enter.

How do I move the inline replies around in the wave
Inline blips can be folded/unfolded by clicking on the little speech bubble with a plus inside. If folded you can easily drag the bubble around. Unfortunately dropping does not work right now.
You can delete them by folding them (see above) and hitting backspace when the cursor is right before the bubble icon.
This will delete the blip and all its children.
Note: You can't recreate them as they were so make sure the content is preserved.
There is also a menu in the upper right corner of each document (blip) in a wave with a "delete" option.

Is it possible to configure a wave so that by default when first viewed, all inline comments are folded, or to fold all comments in a wave?
Not yet but it is something that is planned.

Is there any way to create a private inline reply?
Not currently.
The only workaround is to publicly reply inline with an empty message, and then add a private reply to your all blank message.

How do I embed an mp3 player like from

How do I report a bug?
This is noted as a current issue. Clicking on "Report a bug" in the upper right leads to this url which doesn't work (I get "Firefox can't find the server at b.", at least outside google I presume): http://b/createIssue?notes=[Enter+a+quick+description ....

Is there another visible way to get to a bug tracker or should we just wait for the issue to be fixed?

Are there any tweaks to make Wave run with fewer resources?
When I open this FAQ Wave, Chrome's memory usage spikes up to 280MBs for at least a few minutes and my machine becomes unresponsive even in other apps. Mem is now back down to about 200MBs for this process. Not as bad as Outlook but still high.
No, not presently.

Why do I get "Wave has no contents. Consult backend logs for wave id" and "Everything's shiny, Cap'n. Not to fret!" Unfortunately, you'll need to refresh." on some waves? link to bug report. We think we know why this happens, read the issue above or the "known issues" wave discussion of casing of contact names. .

Is there some way to make the Debug menu smaller?
Not at present. It's likely it will go away soon.

Contacts, Avatars
How do I add contacts?
Before you can invite someone to collaborate on a wave, they must be in your list of contacts.
Select their contact card.
Select Add to contacts

When I use the Search box in the Contacts panel, I can't find other people in the sandbox.
The Search box returns only names in your Contacts

Finding contacts
There is a link to search for contacts contacts page (it seems as if Wave is part of a Google Apps installation on that goes straight to the familiar Gmail contacts page, only that the contacts there are from

The search on that contacts page seems to be not fully functional. I can find 73 (Test) accounts when searching for "test" but 3 or 4 when searching for "e".

You can add contacts to groups and then they are visible on the Wave main page in the 'Contacts' box.

How do I delete contacts from my Contacts panel?
At this point, the only way to delete contacts is by managing them with the regular contacts Google Apps. For that, go to

How do I change my avatar/profile picture?
At the top of the "Contacts" panel, click the picture/placeholder to the left of your name, and select "Change photo" to open gmail settings.
To make your avatar visible to others be sure to make it publicly available.
Note: It can take a little while to take effect or you may need to refresh your browser.

How do I delete participants in a wave?
Not yet implemented.
When it is implemented, click on the contact card and select, Remove <username>

Could we add read-only participants?
Not yet implemented but it's planned. (per Gregory Dalesandre, June 3, 2009)

I made a public wave by adding but it doesn't appear as a participant.
At some point, it stopped getting added to the participant list but you can tell it worked if you get the yellow banner which reads "The wave is published at an unknown url."

Does the Navigation dialog have a scroll bar? It seems like it's kinda cropped oddly or something?
The scroll bar is displayed only when you have user-defined searches or folders that don't fit in the Navigation panel

What does the mute function mean? Can I unmute something?
When a wave is muted, it will not appear in your inbox even when there is new content in the wave.
In order to 'unmute' a wave, you should move it back to Inbox (via the Move to command).

Are there currently problems with archiving items out of the inbox?
I searched for with:wave-discuss and saved the search with the auto-archive option. However, my inbox is still filled with existing waves. I click on one or shift click on a range of them and click the Archive button, but nothing happens.
Per Known Issues with Wave, "archive still a bit flaky".
Workaround: Treat your inbox as an RSS feed and create and save user-defined searches to track topics or people with whom you want updates.

Will the wave client source be released at some point?
Steph says they don't know yet.
Seem that they've just (27 July) released some simple prototype code for server and client

How to use playback backwards?
In order to follow the last (say) 10 entries I need to jump from the g of the slider all the way to the end and move backwards (in large waves this usually doesn't work before I get the Refresh msg)

Are there plans to allow sorting of the blips within a wave?
Seeing the newest waves at the top is sometimes more useful. Seriously this is a much-needed feature. We need blip-sorting asap :(

Extensions and Robots
How can I add my own Robot or extension to a wave?
Each robot has an address looking like an email. You just add it to a wave like any other contact.

To add an extension see the documentation at this link I've tried this myself with an extension I wrote and it works fine.

What is doing?
Currently nothing. But it will show and enable the modification of wave settings in the future.

What are some robots to try?
You can add "" or "". Both these robots were demoed during the Keynote.
See [Google-Wave Extensions List]

Is Rosy the translator bot working?
No. She is on vacation at the moment. (as of Jul 22, 2009)
Add as a contact, then add "her" to your waves, and she will translate between 40 languages.

And how can I tell Rosy from which language to translate?

What is a "been soup" test?
There's a section of the "Google Wave I/O Developer Preview" where Lars demonstrates the context sensitivity of the spell checker with "I want some been soup. It's bean a long time." Along with "icland is an icland" (yes, the same non-word twice) which corrects to "Iceland is an island".

Spell checking doesn't always work. What's wrong?
Spelly participates automatically in all waves.
So if it's not working, just be patient and check back later.Well, it seems like Spelly is under heavy development and is sometimes not available/broken.

How do I turn off the Swedish Chef robot?
Add LEAVEMEALONE in all caps to your document (blip).
you can also use Bouncy the bouncer add and then type

Why do I keep getting security errors?
Someone probably added the Risk Gadget to your wave. The Risk Gadget is evil.

  1. gravatar

    # by Aleléx - October 11, 2009 at 11:04 PM

    Do you know anything about the status of Rosy, the translator bot, as of october 2009?

    It doesn't seem to be available, do you know where I can find more up-to-date information about Rosy?