CS Odessa, the developer of ConceptDraw MINDMAP, recently announced the availability of a free extension for Google Wave, ConceptDraw MindWave, that enables users to create visual maps within Google’s exciting new collaborative environment. This neat tool brings an important visual element to collaboration within Google Wave, which is almost 100% text based.
Using MindWave, you can easily insert a new map into your wave, invite others to collaborate with you and then co-edit it in real time.That means you can use it as a tool for planning simple projects and for small group brainstorming.
MindWave supports Wave’s playback function, which enables you to see how a mind map was constructed, and who added what content to it. This is ideal for new users, who may not be familiar with mind mapping.
Mind maps built within MindWave can be downloaded and developed further using CS Odessa’s ConceptDraw MINDMAP software for Windows and Mac OS X.
Thankfully, MindWave supports a number of keyboard shortcuts, including:
- Shift+Enter to add a new topic.
- Double-click on a topic adds a sub-topic.
- Paste a word or phrase to add a new topic.
- Paste a column of words to add many topics at once.
- Drag and drop organizes your mind map.
- Press Delete or Backspace to remove a selected topic.
- Arrow keys navigate you through the map.
I added MindWave to a wave in my Google Wave account, and found that it installed easily. Creating a new map and adding topics to it was also a breeze; it behaved exactly as I would expect it to. The shortcut keys are non-standard, but then again you’ve got to remember that you’re working on an extension that has to play well within another, larger application. So CS Odessa had to select hot keys that don’t interfere with Wave’s functionality.
The only limitation I foresee with MindWave is that the maps you create within it must, of necessity, be fairly simple. You’re constrained in terms of space to only one-third of the browser – because the other two panels are used by Wave for managing waves, folders and users.
Still, MindWave is a great little applet that is stable and intuitive to use. Kudos to CS Odessa for taking the lead and producing this neat little application to support one of the web’s most compelling new collaboration tools.