embed google apps documents in a wave

while the fact that google wave isn’t natively integrated with all things google already — something that still baffles me; this is the technology that’s going to take over the world, isn’t it? — this particular trick works brilliantly and cleverly disguises the fact that your document isn’t actually natively integrated into your wave.

first, start a wave.  wait, you don’t have google wave yet?  wtf are you waiting for?  i’ve got invites right here! okay, with me now?  good.  start a wave.  click on the little add gadget button that looks like a puzzle piece.  that lets you enter the url of a specific gadget.  now enter this url in there:


what this gadget does is allow you to embed a new webpage into your wave in an iframe.  not the most elegant solution, granted, but it works and it’s seamless.  now you have a big, ugly, teal iframe in your wave and you want to change that to a google document.  if you’re doing a document or a spreadsheet, go to said doc/spreadsheet and click on share.  here’s the cool part: you can publish your document publicly, but you don’t have to, you can use the private url in your wave embed and only you and the people invited to your wave will be able to see the document.  if you want to go this route, from Share, click “Get the link to share” and copy the URL (make sure you hit Save after copying  your URL).  back in your Wave, click Edit above the big  ugly teal box.  now you can paste your doc’s URL and also specify the height for the iframe.  voilá, you now have a google document embedded in your wave.  presumably you can see others making edits to the doc in real time, too, though i haven’t tested this personally.

so what if you don’t want to share a document, but instead want to share a calendar?  this is actually what i was trying to do when i discovered this trick.  make your calendar (or select the calendar you want to share in your Wave), and from the dropdown menu, select “Calendar settings.”  from there, you can right-click and copy the link for HTML under Calendar Address (or click the link and copy the URL in the address bar) if your calendar is public, or do the same under Private Address if it’s not.  again, using the private address shares the calendar only with the people invited to the wave — it’s still private, otherwise.  once you have the URL, plug it into the iframe gadget and you’ve got yourself a calendar embedded in your wave.  unlike what’s been reported about docs and spreadsheets, it doesn’t seem to me like the calendar updates in realtime.  i suspect this has to do with the infrastructure of the technology, but i imagine someday everything google does ever will always be realtime, so i’m sure it’s only a matter of time before you will see events randomly pop up in the calendar as you’re staring at it.  and, of course, it’s only a matter of time before all google apps are natively integrated with Wave in the first place.  but to see this working,  it’s easy to believe that it is a native integration and not a third-party workaround.

with the intensity of ambivalence with which Wave made it’s official debut, i’m glad that things like this are slowly coming into the fold.  i really believe that Wave could revolutionize how we communicate, but it needs a massive adoption: it needs to replace email itself to fully be realized for what it can be.  but i still pine for more tools and more adoption for more of the fancy crap that Wave is capable of.





4 responses to “embed google apps documents in a wave”

  1. Jeff Avatar

    Does this still work? When I try to embed a google docs presentation, I get the warning that it can't be displayed in a frame.

    1. jazzs3quence Avatar

      i don't know for a fact that it works with all Google Apps and i haven't tried presentations (nice idea, though). my first guess would be to check the permissions on the embed you're using, make sure the presentation is set to public, because i had issues when i was trying to embed a document. i've tried it with docs and spreadsheets, though, and it works for those, though i remember seeing some comments about people having issues with some of the apps. at any rate, it's a hack until Google implements native integration, so there's a fairly high likelihood for bugs or quirks. sounds to me, though, like it's a presentations thing, i.e. Google presentations don't play nice with iframes which is what this method for embedding documents uses. if that's the case, you may just be out of luck, but try googling for "google apps presentation" and "iframe" and see if anyone's figured out a workaround to get a presentation to display in an iframe.

  2. Jeff Avatar

    After a quick test, it seems that you're right… the problem is specific to presentations. I was able to share and edit a document in wave using iframes, but doing the same thing with a presentation didn't work. Worth a shot. Thanks.

    1. jazzs3quence Avatar

      unfortunately that's one of those things that sounds to me like it would be a perfect use of google wave that isn't implemented yet. with all the slideshare and other online web-app equivalents of powerpoint out there, it would be brilliant if you could use a wave for that, or embed a presentation you had saved online in your docs into a wave. the most frustrating thing about wave is how slow the features have been added. it makes me think they should have waited a year to go to public beta with it — i think people would have been more excited if this year was spent building applications for it by Google and third parties so that when it was launched into the public, everyone would be super-excited rather than ambivalent, which seems to be the general consensus.

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