Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Google Wave First Impressions

October 1, 2009 by Rico Mossesgeld  
Filed under Services

The short version: Google Wave is your traditional forum on steroids, with the ability to add extensions to change the way you share stuff with other people. As you’ve probably seen screenshots of Google Wave, I hope the first impressions I share below carry some sense of novelty. Feel free to skip the first section if you’re already familiar with Google Wave.

What is Google Wave?

The layout of Google Wave is similar to Gmail, with the addition of a third column on the right to display the contents of whatever wave is selected on the middle column, and it’s possible to drag-resize each column. Think of each wave as a conversation of sorts, but with the ability to add not only words, but pictures, videos, and other sorts of media to the virtual discussion. Users can even choose to frame the conversation in different ways, examples being running a collaborative Sudoku game, or setting up Yes-No-Maybe waves. There’s even the playback feature, which re-enacts the Wave as it happened, much like watching a recorded conversation unfold.

Additions to a “normal” kind of conversation are organized as threads, with replies visually tied to the whatever they’re replying to through the use of indentation. Everything happens in real-time, and it’s honestly a bit cool and scary at the same time, seeing replies to each other appearing as they’re typed. It’s more real-time than chat, and forces people to think before they tap a single key. The interface as mostly responsive, though I did notice slight slowdowns as I typed replies to my one and only Wave contact (more on that later). With a future userbase most likely in the hundreds of millions, let’s hope Google has a scalable plan to update what could be millions of waves concurrently.

First Impressions

So Google Wave claims to be all for communication and collaboration. How well does it do either? The real-time nature of a Wave definitely helps keep people connected. As I’ve written above, Wave is even more real-time than chat! The snappy interface updates itself constantly, keeping the user on top of any new developments. And while the contents of each Wave are listed completely for everyone involved to see, the Playback feature adds a new dimension to recall. Re-enacting the Wave as it happened makes it easier to place all developments within the proper context, and the Spacebar is a useful shortcut for those who like to skim through the time frame quickly.

Collaborative-wise however, it’s clear that the relatively little number of Wave users is a limitation. Having received my Wave account mere hours ago, I only have two contacts on my list: the person who invited me, and someone I invited. Currently I can only collaborate with those two, unless either contact adds me to a Wave with numerous participants, or I add users I encounter on existing waves to my contact list.

It’s also a bit time-consuming to follow lengthy Waves, at least those of the “normal” word-only kind, despite the Playback feature. I’m eager to try out numerous extensions that promise to add to the functionality of my future waves—these extensions basically change the way you and your contacts collaborate with each other—but for now I’ll wait until my invites are processed and I have more people on my contact list. Let’s crack the whip on getting those invites out, Google!

Share Your Invites Here

I’ve already used up all 8 of my invites to Google Wave, but if you’re looking for one, or are eager to share one, feel free to coordinate by leaving comments below. Please do not post emails verbatim (me@whatever.com). To protect yourself from spammers, use “[at]” and “[dot]” or something similar (me [at] whatever [dot] com). You are also free to share your thoughts on Google Wave as comments below.

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Comments

24 Responses to “Google Wave First Impressions”
  1. Alberto says:

    Could you please invite me to google wave?

    Thanks in advance

  2. reado says:

    Google wave looks so cool!

    I’m looking for an invite and will obviously share the love!

    mattread [at] gmail

    Thanks!!!

  3. John says:

    Great introduction! Appreciate the initial overview. I would also love to get an invite from someone, if they have a spare: john.tobin[a]gmail[dot]com

    Thanks!

  4. Myles Braithwaite says:

    Could some one please send me a Google Wave invite: myles[dot]braithwaite[at]gmail[dot]com

  5. Andy Bailey says:

    I missed out on an invitation last night because I was asleep! :(
    If you’re happy to share one with someone who’ll use it to collaborate on wordpress plugins with other wavey plugin authors then please send to andrewgbailey (at) gmail.com

    I’ll send you some strawberry jello if you do ;)

  6. Charles Peng says:

    Do you have an invite? If so, please send to linux.usrs at gmail.com, thanks.

  7. Robert Schutt (subscribed) says:

    Would love an invite if one is available, I would be happy to Wave with you to learn the system.

    Thanks Robert

    Robert [dot] Schutt [at] gmail [dot] com

  8. Chris Jean says:

    Sounds great Rico. I’d love to get access to Wave. I have a lot of plans, but I need to be able to try it out to know if how I want to use it will work.

    If anyone has an invite, I’d be very grateful if you’d send one my way. gaarai[at]gaarai_dot_com

  9. Sydney Wood (subscribed) says:

    Anybody feeling sorry for your neighbour up north. Please sent me an invite.
    syd(dot)wood(at)gov(dot)ab(dot)ca

    Thanks

  10. JoSe says:

    Excellent review, does anyone have an invite ? Please send to josemvillar[at]gmail_dot_com Thanks in advance !

  11. lotsofolives says:

    Would also love an invite. lotsofolives[at]hotmail_dot_com

  12. Frank Hüttner says:

    Please invite me for Wave!

    Thanks, Frank

    Frank [dot] Huettner [at] web-me [dot] org

  13. Lizeth says:

    I would really love an invite. I work with several non-profit organizations and Wave would help me with coordinating these. lizeth[dot]gomez[at]gmail[dot]com

  14. Kenshiro says:

    I’m also looking for an invite :)

    Thank you!

    rkenshiro[at]gmail.com

  15. chris moore says:

    5th grade teacher looking for an invite. cmoor4 at gmail dot com

  16. Nick Diaz says:

    Wishing for an invite to nickdiaz at gmail dot com

  17. Marissa says:

    I would love a Google Wave invite. vodka8 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  18. JC John Sese Cuneta says:

    Requesting for an invite too! Laibcoms on gmail ;)

    Thanks :D

  19. Wyrlo says:

    I would really love to try wave out. May I ask for an invite?

    wyrloalbertagsalud [at] gmail [dot] com

  20. Patrick says:

    Can someone provide me with a Google Wave invite.
    I am so curious about it. (pvrumt(at)gmail(dot)com

    Thanks in advance.

    Patrick (Amsterdam Area, The Netherlands)

  21. Victor says:

    I would like to try google vave
    my email is

    Ryumaster(at)gmail(dot)com

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