So the world has been abuzz about Google Wave — the new Google product which purports to “revolutionize the world of email”. Having recently received an invite as part of Googles ‘developer preview’ of the system — I can say that it’s a fairly slick offering.
So the world has been abuzz about Google Wave — the new Google product which purports to “revolutionize the world of email”. Having recently received an invite as part of Googles ‘developer preview’ of the system — I can say that it’s a fairly slick offering. The ideology behind wave is that it’s a real-time collaboration platform which allows you to communicate with your family, friends and business colleagues in sync. It’s basically a system which allows you to “see it happen as it happens” — so when your friends are typing a response to a wave that you sent them — you will see exactly what they are typing.
In this sense — it’s sort of merging Instant Messaging with email — for good or bad — to allow you to see what your contacts are typing as they type it. The system allows you to inject ‘blips’ (what Google call parts of a wave) into any area of a wave — which it’s great for document collaboration, but I’m not so sure this works as well with email. Injecting blips effectively allows you to break up an email and comment on particular sections of it — which is great when you want it turned on but having this feature available all the time — in my mind — confuses the flow of the wave when you are sending it to multiple people. Maybe it might take a bit of getting used too — but it means that everyone that the wave has been sent too can add and edit blips all over the wave at different points. This means, for example, that you could have 20 people leave comments on the first sentence of an email and then leave comments on the 2nd sentence and so forth.
One of the most confusing things for me at the moment is that you cannot do this with normal emails. You can only collaborate with other people that have wave accounts. What would make wave much more user friendly would be allowing waves to be sent to any email address and then users can simple comment inside the wave. At the moment this is not possible — so I can only send waves to other Google Wave Account holders which sort of restricts me using it all that much at this stage.
To show you how all works, Google have actually allowed waves to be “embeddable” — that is, you can embed waves into blog posts. So — you can actually respond to my wave and speak to me — if I have wave open, I will be able to see what you are typing in real-time and respond — in real-time. This is one of the cool things about the platform and I can see this becoming extremely popular when the system hits main stream. I did try to do this below, but it seems that this is again only a feature that is available to people who have wave accounts — so I disabled this feature because it’s pretty much useless at the moment for the majority of the population. Instead, I replaced the editable wave with the Google Wave movie.
I can understand that Google Wave is in in beta and they have a huge community development program in place so I have no doubt that the future will very much allow waves to be embeddable and sent to any email address. I just doubt that this is something that the average lay human is ever going to utilize. The future will tell.