Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My 'first date' with Google Wave

I've finally had a chance to spend a couple of hours with Google Wave, and I wanted to give you my VERY early impressions. I'll say up front that it's completely possible that I'll change my opinion dramatically yay or nay on Wave from what I state here, but still wanted to let you know what I think early on. I've noticed with most social media sites/tools that I tend to change how I use them over time.

As for Google Wave, my initial impression is that it's a souped up IM service. And for me as an individual, I don't see a ton of 'wow' factor happening here, since I don't often have a need to connect with small groups of people and collaborate on ideas, which is where I think Wave has some value.

But I can see how Wave could benefit a company, especially a virtual company (Ann and the gang at Marketing Profs, I'm looking at you), in giving them the ability to collaborate on ideas in one space.

The main backbone of Google Wave is the ability to create messages, which Google calls Waves. It seems as if Google is trying to position Waves as being Email 2.0, but it really looks to me like IM 2.0.

I can create a Wave that's 5 paragraphs, and send it to Beth. Beth can then go in and break up the Wave and reply to each paragraph. I can then reply to each point Beth made.

Now let's say at this point we decide that we want to bring Amy and Jason into our Wave and get their ideas on what we've been talking about. First, they are going to see a Wave that's probably confusing as hell, because it will be my original 5-paragraph Wave, which was then broken into 5 parts (where Beth replied to each paragraph), and then I replied to each of Beth's replies. So it looks like a complete cluster to anyone that joins the Wave at this point.

But Google Wave would give Amy and Jason the ability to 'replay' the wave and see how it was created. They could first see the 5-paragraph wave I wrote, then see Beth break it down into replies for each paragraph, them my replies to her replies. So it's less confusing.

One thing I wish Wave supported (and maybe it does and I haven't been able to find it yet) was the ability to pull items from other social sites. For example, let's say in tomorrow's feed from Google Reader, I find a blog post that's critical of my company. If I could move that post from Reader to Wave, I could then share it with my co-workers (let's say 5 of them are also on Wave), and then we could collaborate via Wave on how to handle this critical blog post. The same thing could be done with a tweet from Twitter or a comment on a Facebook Fan Page. Again, maybe it's possible to do that now, or will be soon.

Anyway, that's my VERY early impressions of Wave. Now it should be mentioned that few of my contacts are on Wave right now. In a month if most of my contacts from Twitter have moved to Wave, the service could be much more valuable to me. But I can already see the potential value for companies as an internal collaboration tool.

If you've been using Wave, what are your thoughts? What potential can you see for the tool? Do you see it having more value for individuals, or businesses?


amymengel said...

Thanks for the early analysis, Mack. I haven't gotten an invite yet (though I'm told one is coming!) and I am interested to see what people think. From Google's demo video it looked very promising for small group collaboration. Have you tried any plugins or add-ons yet to Wave?

Lisa Olinda, Olinda Services said...

As a virtual assistant I am really interested to see if this can benefit my clients. Can't wait to play!

Mack Collier said...

Amy I haven't tried any plugins or add-ons. Still wrestling with the basic functionality ;)

Lisa that's a good point, I could definitely see where Wave could potentially help VAs.

NateB said...

Good unbiased review of Wave. I've only seen/heard Google propaganda for this so no negative views yet. Any chance that you have an extra invite to send me way :)

Mack Collier said...

Nate I was thinking that I would have some invites given to me when they gave me my account, and my plan was to offer them to everyone that commented that they needed one. But unless I am missing it, Google gave me no invites to share!

Kees said...

like your small and petite insight, a general thought from most people I talk to.

Still think Wave is just a technologic infrastructure, the community will create the experience when API's and robots are more evolved (desktop clients, integration with other services to serve some examples)

And an invite is welcome ;)

Anonymous said...

Nice review Mack. I also just started playing around with the functionality. Until more users are able to get into the application, it will be hard to tell if it is something that can be "functionally" incorporated into workflow.

I didn't get invitations to send out right away... they came a bit after being able to log in. Now that I've sent them out, the invitees still haven't received them yet (about 24 hours).

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