Hot on HuffPost Tech:

See More Stories
Free Switched iPhone app - try it now!
AOL Tech

The Ultimate List of Google Wave Robots

This list has been a long time coming, and for that I apologise. But I think it will be worth the wait. In just the last month invites for Google Wave have opened right up with second and third generation testers getting invite codes of their own to distribute. Developers and users are now flooding into the new and exciting service. As a result, we're seeing rapid and extensive development of both Robots and Gadgets. This article's about Robots -- if you want Gadgets, we got gadgets, but they will not be covered here. What I've done is compiled a list of useful robots that actually work and seem to be actively maintained. You can find lists of robots all over the place, but they're full of useless and broken bots.

What are Robots in the world of Wave? They are very similar to what you might initially assume: they perform tasks and process data so that you don't have to. Robots are capable of real-time translation, or bringing news and stock tickers into a specific wave. Robots are what make Google's Wave truly powerful and extensible -- they are what allow you to send and receive Twitter tweets and feeds directly into your Wave user interface. In theory, with robots, you could experience most of the Internet from within Google Wave. News, email, games, instant messengers... everything will feed into your Wave inbox.

Prepare to be impressed by these robots... or if you believe in John Connor, Skynet and the eventual cyborg apocalypse, prepare to be afraid; very, very afraid.

NOTE:
For various technical reasons, robots can disappear or break without warning. At the time of writing, these robots work... but if you can't get them to work, Google is probably doing some maintenance, or the robot's developer is busy bug-testing. Google Wave is still very much in beta testing!

To use a robot, simply drop in its address as a new Wave participant.

* * *

1. Multi Lingual Bot -- multilingual-bot@appspot.com


Say there's a hot girl, but she doesn't speak English -- or, wait, better example: you've picked up a new client that speaks patchy English and you need to communicate a design specification. Perhaps more importantly, maybe you don't speak any languages other than English? Well not to worry! This bot translates each blip (a message in a wave) into a language that you specify. You type in English, they read your translation in a language of their choosing... and vice-versa!

How awesome is that?

2. CleanTXT -- cleantxt@appspot.com


I tried to take a better screenshot of this robot, but it seems I just don't know how to type like a proper 'txt kiddie'. But even so, if you're a 'proper' writer like me and hate, revile and wish ten kinds of hell upon those that write like deranged apes, this is a great robot to keep waves clean and readable.

In the above example, it capitalises 'lol', and replaces 'r' with 'Are' -- the author says it'll do a lot more. Give it a go and find out just how illiterate you can be before it stops assisting you.

3. Dice Bot -- dice-bot@appspot.com


You've probably gathered from the Wave Gadgets article that I like dice-rollers. I think the first thing that Wave will replace is forums and email. Dice-rollers... forums... email... what's the common thread here? Role-players of course! Unlike the dice-rolling gadget I showed you previously, this neat robot actually converts your dice rolls in-line with your blips.

4. Piratify -- piratify@appspot.com


I thought long and hard about including the Talk Like A Pirate robot. I mean, is it really useful? Maybe, if you're role-playing a pirate? Or perhaps you can use it once a year on September 19th, the official Pirate Day? I can't really justify this robot's inclusion in the list, so I'll just say that it's really quite fun. It's always a pleasant surprise when you're having a deep-and-meaningful with a female friend and suddenly you -- or she -- bursts out with a big all-caps 'YAARRRRR!'

It's a real ice-breaker.

5. Wikify -- wikifier@appspot.com


I am using this screenshot to illustrate the potential issues of using more than one robot in a wave. For obvious reasons, when two robots try to manipulate your blip you can get some... interesting results.

Wikify simply replaces <wikify topic_name_here> with a link to the relevant Wikipedia entry. As you can see in the screenshot, 'furries' is correctly forwarded -- and someone needs to make a Download Squad entry!

This is more of a 'convenience' robot, I think, but may be useful for the heated discussions that can occur in forum forays and rapid-fire emails. There are plenty of 'search' robots that can drag results from external sites into Wave, but they are too numerous to list here!

6. Treeify -- treeify@appspot.com


I stumbled across this very neat robot a few weeks ago when looking for something to organise a bunch of waves. Google Wave in its basic form is completely flat -- you can link between waves, but there's no inherent structure. With Treeify you can form trees of data -- hierarchical structures that let you easily create projects or knowledge bases.

Obviously, when you are potentially collaborating with hundreds of wavers, a well-defined structure that keeps data atomic and easily-findable is highly valuable. Treeify does just that.

7. Emoticony -- emoticonbot@appspot.com


You know, I've only just realised you can't spell 'emoticon' without 'emo'? How about that. Personally I would never install a robot like this, but I can think of a lot of people that might. There aren't a huge number of graphics available, but more than enough to get going with (a complete list can be found on the Emoticony wiki).

As for the quality of the smileys themselves, I'm sure they will improve as time goes on! As will support for the more obtuse anime smiley faces hopefully...

Also, looking at the screenshot, I wonder if there will be an option to disable the 'and Emoticony' text in every blip. Might get a little irritating after some time.

8. Embeddy -- embeddy@appspot.com


Are you sick of the cutesy '-y' naming convention yet?

This isn't actually much of a robot, but more of a 'helper'. You may have noticed, if you've seen the large Wave Tech Demo video that waves can be embedded into normal HTML webpages. Most of your non-email-like interaction with Wave will probably be out there on the Web!

This is how you turn a wave into a blog entry or a forum -- simply by embedding a Wave onto a web page. You do need a Wave login to view and participate in each wave however... but judging by the number of invites going out, that'll be real soon now!

9. Hangman bot -- wavehangman@appspot.com


I made it all this way without including a game! There's surprisingly slim pickings when it comes to actual, programmed games at the moment -- perhaps because they're all in development at the moment, awaiting Wave's public release?

Hangman works just as you'd expect. I have no idea how big the dictionary is, or how long and esoteric the words can be, but it's a great little time-waster nonetheless.

Also, note how the name is entirely un-cutesy. 'Hangman bot' -- straight to the point.

10. Notify -- wave-email-notifications@appspot.com


Here's a good one to end off with! Notify simply sends you an email when someone updates a wave that you're following. You're probably thinking this is a bit backward, considering Wave is meant to replace email. And you're right, it is backward -- but until Wave is connected to the outside world, it's vital!

Right now, you can't send anything in or out from Wave (without using robots!) Tabbing between Wave, Gmail and your other social networks is pretty irritating, especially if most of your friends still haven't been invited! The Notify robot lets you close your Wave tab, which saves a lot of resources, let me assure you -- Wave is heavy. Then just open it up every time an email arrives in your inbox telling you there's been an update!

Obviously, Google Wave will ultimately replace email and every other communication channel on the Internet -- but until then, this is a must-have robot.

* * *

As always, if you have a 'killer' robot that the world should know about, leave a link to it in the comments!

Tags: communication, email, features, google, google wave, GoogleWave, guide, IM, internet, list, lists, productivity, robot, wave

Comments

22