Google Wave – first impression

During the weekend I got an invite to Google’s new (or rather newer) product – Wave and I’ve decided to find out what it’s all about.

What is Google Wave for?

Reading the answer from the about page:

Google Wave is an online communication and collaboration tool that makes real-time interactions more seamless — in one place, you can communicate and collaborate using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

A wave is a conversation with multiple participants — participants are people added to a wave to discuss and collaborate on its content. Participants can reply any time and anywhere within a wave, and they can edit content and add more participants as a wave develops. It’s also possible to rewind waves with the playback functionality, to see what happened, and when.

In other words… I don’t really know – at least not yet, what I can tell you is what Google Wave does:

  • Chat (called ping) with your contacts – seems to me I’ve already been doing that with GChat.
  • Create Waves – just like a conversation with multiple collaborators sharing pictures, movies, widgets and what’s not.

My initial experience

This how wave looks the first time I’ve opened it – a clean slate:

googleWave

Later that day several “welcome” waves (I don’t really care for that word) appeared. Explaining about Wave (that word again) and how to collaborate with your contacts and how to add new widgets and slowly my contacts started playing with the new system discovering what we can do with it

wavewstart

After a while a troubling thought started in my head – could that be it? I’ve only got eight contacts that were invited is that the extent of my world?

So I’ve used Google and searched to what other people had to say about this new product and found a useful tip:

When starting new Wave (ouch) the author can decide who to invite to that conversation, but there is another option a wave can be defined as “public” for everyone to see and participate. Using a simple search (with:public) you can see all of the public Waves out there – and there is quite a lot. It seems that there are “social network” options in Wave not just collaborate with your fellow employees and friends but also have a user group/facebook/twitter kind of experience.

My final rants

Google Wave still got me confused – it’s good for meeting minuets and note taking and can enhance collaboration just like another product called Google Docs.

I really don’t get the reason GChat wasn’t used instead of “pings”.

And finally I’ve explored the various widgets that can be added to a message and there are quite a few from video chat to Sudoku you can play with all of your friends but no table, that’s right a tool for taking notes that cannot put a simple 4X3 table that I can feel – why?

 

After a few days of playing with Google Wave I’m still looking for ways to use it – so if you have Wave and tell me how you use it (in the comments).

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