Friday, November 06, 2009

Google Wave First Impressions

I've been using Google Wave for a couple weeks now and can see how the Wave could be a home run like google's email system, GMAIL or a "swing and a miss" like Google's social network, Orkut. I say Orkut is a swing and a miss, because it's not a strike out. There's still a lot more pitches to hit. A swing and a miss is not necessarily about the idea but about the adoption and whether people will buy into it. The idea behind Google wave is quite genius, makes a lot of sense, and moves the evolution of online collaboration forward whether it succeeds or stagnates. I personally think Google Wave resembles a Wiki with real-time editing abilities, more-so than it does email, though it can be used for both, which makes explaining it a little tricky. It combines instant messenger, discussion boards, emails, and wikis into one platform. It's one of those systems that can be used for very simple things like Instant Messaging as well as complex things like real-time wiki editing in which 10 people are contributing to the document. One can see the more powerful aspects of Wave in a large group collaboration setting. If you haven't done that yet, then the big idea might escape you. I personally like using Wave and found that it has already been a helpful tool in collaborating with my colleagues on a logo design for an online program at BGSU. I enjoy how easy it is to upload images and comment on each others uploads. Wave is still in Preview (pre-beta) so it wouldn't be right for me to go on about all the bugs I've found at this point. Once it's in Beta, I'll have a more in depth post on the bugs. The point of a preview is to get people using it so that Google can work out the bugs and open it up to larger groups. I really think online education organizations should pursue Google Wave and pilot it now. If any Google Engineers are reading this blog, please contact me as I know of at least 1 Graduate program at Bowling Green State University that would pilot Google Wave as the main collaborative tool the students would use for the program. I'm sure great research will come of it and you know we are only about 1.5 hours south of you.

A couple things I'd like to see added to Google Wave:
  1. I like GMAIL so much that I'd like Wave to notify my Gmail when a Wave has been updated. I know Wave can be used like email, but currently I can only wave to people that have wave accounts, so I'll keep using GMAIL for email until then.
  2. I'd also like to see the GMAIL chat feature (text, audio, video) integrated into Google Wave. Maybe wave could deliver a 10+ person video chat? Sometime people just want to chat and not type anything or clutter up the Wave.
  3. I'd like to see a Google Wave Plugin/Extension Website similar to Firefox's Plugin Website. Please make it "Firefox" easy to find and implement plugins/bots from within wave. For that matter, tell the Chrome people to do that too, because that is the main thing holding me back from jumping deeper into Chrome. I really like the Chrome Browser, it just lacks the plugins. [Edit: I found this Google Wave Bots Wiki, which lists the known bots/plugins for Google Wave]
  4. Make it easier to embed any code, similar to how most wikis, blogger, and other blog sites work.
The lead engineer's of Google Wave said that Wave is what email would be if it were designed today. However, Wave will seem strange to someone if they go into it with an idea of what they think it is. Some people think of it as email and it could be. Others will think of it as an instant messenger and it could be. Others might think of it as a wiki and it could be. That said, schools should take notice, pilot it, and give feedback to Google. I'm liking it so far, but I am also kind of geeky.

1 comment:

josh said...

I suggest trying http://www.showdocument.com
for online collaboration, web-based and free of charge. - josh