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An Architect's View

Google Wave - Disappointed?

November 19, 2009 ·

As Google Wave rolls out more invitations, I'm seeing a lot of people complaining that it doesn't seem to do much useful stuff. I'm actually finding Google Wave very useful. So why do I like it and many other people don't? I came across a great blog post by Daniel Tenner that asks "What problems does Google Wave solve?" where he talks a lot about what Google Wave is not and that provides a big clue as to why many people aren't finding it very useful. Most of the complaints and confusion I see are from people whose experience is just public waves. That's understandable. We have no point of reference for completely open collaboration tools, except perhaps wikis. But a wiki has (some) structure and has 'pages' and 'content' and a sense of navigation. That's missing from Google Wave - by design, since that's not what it is aimed it. Public waves really are a waste of time (in my experience so far). Where Google Wave really shines is in closed group collaboration. If you have a team that is working on a project that needs to refine ideas, concepts, proposals, documents and be able to maintain discussion threads in context, then Google Wave can be very effective. Waves work best when they have a narrow focus and a set of dedicated contributors - rather than some random, open-ended topic and a big crowd of people going "So, what's this Google Wave all about then?". And, no, I don't have any invites at the moment. I'll tweet when I do.

Tags: personal

4 responses

  • 1 Steve Good // Nov 19, 2009 at 8:48 PM

    I agree 100% with you Sean. I'm finding Wave to be a great collaboration tool for small-medium closed ecosystems. I'm already developing wave extensions that are more specific to collaborative application development (think collaborative UML).
  • 2 James Peek // Nov 19, 2009 at 10:08 PM

    I've found it very useful working one-on-one with a remote developer for tracking TODO items and bugs. Far less likely to lose things down the cracks and easier to keep tabs on where things are up to.
  • 3 Ronny Karam // Nov 20, 2009 at 2:56 AM

    I think most people are complaining because they can't actually experience Google Wave until they can send invitations to their friends/colleagues; being the only one opening the application with no one to share the experience with is really... stupid! you need someone to interact with, yet you have no invitations to send.

    Another thing to add is that Google Wave is still Pre-Beta; lots of bugs, missing features, etc.
    When they distributed invitations, they were thinking more about how to improve and push the service more than how useful it is right now.

  • 4 Jim Priest // Nov 20, 2009 at 5:38 AM

    I like it and can see it being useful in some circumstances. My one gripe is that it's "one more thing to check"

    I haven't really explored available extensions - but it would be nice to find something that plugged into Gmail or something that would ping you when a Wave is updated.