EJM Designs Limited Blog

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How Google Wave Hasn't Changed My Life

I was jonesing like many of you, geek-grade salivating over the prospect of getting in on The Wave. I sent out innocuous queries, suggestions with a tone of *wink-wink* and then resorted to all-out begging. And then a friend of mine sent me the invite. A week later, I just about jumped out of a gathering and ran all the way home like Charlie Bucket with the Golden Ticket when I saw the invite appear in my inbox on my Palm Pre.

And I got home and I opened the email and I clicked the link - BUT NOT before watching the 80 minute video of the presentation so I could get in there and hit the ground running and I got in and set some profile bits so everyone could see my pic and knew who I was.

And then I went "Hrm? What now?"

It was like this whiteboard image I later found on a wave:

So what's the problem with Google Wave?

Well, aside from it being a little slow and draggy and buggy (but not that much), the primary problem is finding people to collaborate with. But I digress. Allow me to begin with...

What is Google Wave?

Google Wave is an online collaboration platform created as a thought experiment by Google as "What would email look like if it were created today?"

One person creates a wave. They can then add people to that wave. Those people can add others, etc. Anyone attached to that wave can edit any message inside that wave or insert their own addition at any point, all in real time. You can drag and drop documents, images, etc., and edit those in real time. You can embed a wave in a webpage. And you an add "public" as a member of the wave and open it up to public search so the world can join in.

Beginning Moments

So still, there I was, looking expectantly at the interface like it was going to solve world hunger or something, but I saw nothing. Just the welcome wave sent to me by Google. Okay. So how do I turn this thing on? Turn it into the collaborative juggernaut it's meant to be?

The Floodgates

With help from the interwebs I was able to figure out the "with:public" search and BLAMMO! The floodgates opened! Dozens - nay, hundreds - of waves popped in and out of most recently updated popularity and ...many of them were of little interest to me, many in languages I could not read.

So I did a search and followed (added myself to the wave) of a couple public waves like Ohio and Cincinnati and SEM. I even found one contact to add me to a New Media Cincinnati wave.

Glorified Chat

So right now, as I've found, Wave is existing primarily as a glorified chat engine. I love the layout and immediacy of it, but for the most part it's "Hey, I'm from Cincinnati and this is what I do! Hello World!" like back in the early 90's when you entered chat rooms in AOL.

I log on every day or two and see if any of the waves I'm following have any updates. I read them. And that's about all.

So, um... About That Collaboration

In an effort to truly do some collaboration, I used one of my invites to add my brother. We're working on a script about my Grandfather who came over to the US in '21 and his early life and subsequent entrance into WWII. Granted, he's got a Google Account, so we could just about do the same thing with Google Docs (where the script will live), but we'll give Wave a try in this regard and see how it works.

Closing Comments

Google Wave has a ways to go. First off, the people you might want to collaborate with need to be on it and they have to be willing to join yet another online service. The most interesting aspect of this is to get in there and just watch: What will Google Wave turn into? What will it eventually do? How will it change how we do things? Will it ever work properly on my Palm Pre?

And for those of you who found this looking for invites, I've got a dozen or so to hand out. Email me at eric AT ejmdesigns DOT com.

And if you're already on the Wave, I'd love to talk to you. I'm emarschall@googlewave.com.

What thoughts do you have? Interest in or fear of Google Wave? Let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Just stumbled upon your blog, love it. Great layout and graphics.
    I’m trying to get member of my local ARMA Charlotte group involved in a wave. I sent links to a couple of friends in hopes of getting them interested. Am I doing the right thing?