Google Wave

I’m in bed with some kind of virus and was thus sufficiently bored to actually watch the entire Google Wave Demo. It’s a very impressive demo and a very nice piece of technology, and it’s being implemented in an idealistic fashion.

The big problem with it is that it isn’t backwards compatible with email. I would have thought that being able to interoperate with email would have been a major priority, but in fact the only mention of it was a half-mumbled remark towards the end about how it would be nice if someone wrote an extension for this.┬áIt’s especially odd that this issue didn’t get dealt with more explicitly, since Wave is explicitly intended to replace email.

It’s interesting to imagine what a conversation between a Wave user and a conventional email user might look like — either the email user is going to lose all context each time he/she gets a reply, or the Wave user is going to get a distinctly un-Wave-like mess of pointlessly quoted crap.

  • Andrew

    My best guess as to what the conversation will look like:

    “Dear , bob has invited you to join Google Wave. Click here to create your free account.”

  • LMAO Andrew.

    The architecture feels like it’s Notes reborn with a more flexible and resilient underlying data structure (Waves vs Notes) and a much richer client development ecosystem.

  • It’s funny because it’s true (to quote Homer Simpson).

    And anything that works that way will fail. Exactly how long would Google keep inactive gmail accounts around for folks who switch to Wave (assuming its resounding success?).

    This — digitally speaking — is Yet Another Thing. While you don’t need to “carry it around” you will need to check it all the time, so will it completely replace some other thing you already check all the time? If, at minimum it can completely and transparently replace gmail and gtalk it has a shot.

    I haven’t looked at the architecture (of Notes either for that matter) but it seemed to me that Notes’s problem isn’t a lack of flexibility or resilience so much as a stupendously retarded client. (And, retarded as it is, Notes interoperates with email just fine.) Indeed, Notes does a bunch of things Wave can’t (notably, allow you to explicitly state which bits of the hive mind you want on your Desert Island trip).

    I think Wave’s concept of watching other people’s stuff as they type is interesting and probably sufficiently annoying that users will (a) turn off their keystroke broadcasts (unimplemented feature in the demo) or (b) turn off or increase the granularity the updates for other people as a preference (soon-to-be-requested-feature). Having someone reply to my typos or to what they THINK I’m about to say is annoying enough in real life.

  • Really interesting critique of Google Wave — both architecture and design — here: