Having friends in the tech industry can sometimes have its perks. I get to be ‘in the know’ about new products online. One of which is Google Wave, the new addition to the Google family of products that was expected to revolutionize email by combining the privacy of a private message with the real time functionality of an instant message and the editing ability of a wiki page.
I was ecstatic when I found out that my friend had eight invitations to Google Wave, one of which had my name on it. I waited, waited, waited, thought he had forgotten to invite me, then a few weeks later received my invitation.
I immediately opened my account, almost falling out of my chair with excitement. Upon receiving my first wave, I was a little disappointed. I don’t know if my expectations were too high, but I felt that Google Wave was just like Google Docs. The only upgrade is the ability to ‘playback’ the order in which comments were added and by whom.
Was it interesting and useful? Yes. Would I ever use Google Wave on a regular basis? No way. As someone who regularly works on presentations and reports with groups of people, I wouldn’t use Google Wave. Google Docs would suffice for work of this nature, and for presentations it does a better job. It definitely would not replace my email (considering only three of my friends even have it).
Some of the ideas developed in the Google Wave application are relevant and would be great to use in other applications. For example, the ability to see the editor of certain comments would be useful in Google Docs. It would help if I had the ability to see how the document was edited over time in order to direct comments to other team members.
Gmail could also benefit from some of the features of Google Wave. I like being able to directly change or reply to a specific part of a message. But having to play it back can be time consuming. I’d almost rather see Gmail work like an online message board where you can quote what someone said previously and then comment below it. We are considering add this function to our iPhones for sale page.
The features developed in Google Wave are interesting. Revolutionary, not quite. I think that if Google takes some of the technology developed in the wave and uses it to update some of their other programs, it will be worth their investment.