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Wave, a couple of weeks on
Google’s Wave is an attempt to solve genuine problems with both email and chat, creating a system that sits between the two. It has a big ambition, and works surprisingly well for some purposes. It is also very rough around the edges, but that is perhaps natural for a ‘preview’ release.

It will become significantly more useful when the performance is better, when it has more features, and when more people are using it.

With all its effort to fix problems with chat and email, the main benefit I have found in the past couple of weeks is in live joint editing of documents. I can see it becoming invaluable for things like event planning, menu planning, and meeting minutes.

I do a weekly shop with [info - personal] kateaw and [info - personal] qidane. For our last two shops, we have used Wave to create the shopping list over the course of the week, and then I’ve had it on my iPhone while wandering around Morrisons. It works surprisingly well. So Google have invented a useful shopping list system.

This entry was originally posted at http://tobyaw.dreamwidth.org/167215.html.

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You know...

I'm not sure that's what they quite meant it for.


So Wave won't save the world and bring about the downfall of all other tech companies? You surprise me.

(Maybe not really - it's always looked to me like a niche product not worth checking out. If I had a specific need, I'd still hesitate, because I wouldn't want to give Google all my data - more than I already do, anyway. I think the Cloud will have its uses, like any other technology, but it's currently dangerously over-hyped.)

Downfall of other tech companies? I don’t think so. And while this initial implementation stores data in the ‘cloud’, that isn’t necessary for wave.

I could see wave replacing business email and text chat; it solves so many of the real problems with multi-recipient email, and the interoperability will allow companies to run their own wave server for internal use and let it communicate with other servers, in a similar model to email at the moment.

And my experience is that many organisations currently don’t bother with running their own chat server; people just use Skype or similar instead, despite the potential issues with confidentiality and data security.

Edited at 2009-11-28 12:36 pm (UTC)

It's difficult - though not impossible - to see it taking off, because e-mail and chat are already well entrenched, and e-mail in particular is not proprietary, so your e-mail system will interact with other people's e-mail systems fairly seamlessly without requiring them to sign up to the same service or technology platform as you.

Google Wave isn't different enough (IMHO, of course) to make a really big splash against solutions people are using already, although I'm sure it will get what would be a very respectable level of use for a less notable company.

It is interesting looking at the differences between email and chat.

Email, as you say, is well entrenched, and reasonably interoperable, but there are well known and commonly held frustrations with email, particularly when sending emails to a group of people (and worse, when replying to a group of people).

Chat, on the other hand, is much less well defined. It doesn’t have the ubiquity of email, there are multiple competing bespoke solutions, and very little interoperability. On the other hand, in my experience people who use chat seem to be quite happy with the service; there are no major frustrations. It appears that a significant number of business users are happy to use Skype for text chat, even though their organisations don’t provide the service to them.

I suspect the chat market is wide open to a different approach, and is probably much easier for wave to approach than trying to replace email.

Chat does seem a little more open to a disruptive replacement, but I'm inclined to think you're more right that people are usually quite happy with the service.

The most obvious improvement would be a single protocol shared by all chat clients, but that's not what Wave provides. Nor is it easy to see how it could come about, since most client developers will be relying on the current exclusivity to keep their users locked in.

Oops, looks like I replied to your comment instead of the main post, which is what I intended, sorry.

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