Friday, October 16, 2009

Google Wave: Embracing the chaos

Twitter_in_Google_Wave.jpgImage by curiouslee via Flickr
Geez...  From Slate, It's Just Fancy Talk: The Google Wave chatting tool is too complicated for its own good.  I might buy that if he ever talked about what was hard to use. He never mentions anything about using Google Wave that is difficult. Instead the whole article is about his own self-consciousness.
Chatting on Wave is like talking to an over curious mind reader. On a conventional IM, you only see what other people say once they hit Enter. (True, the IM program will tell your partner whether or not you're typing, but this is too little information to get embarrassed about.) On Wave, every misspelling, half-formed sentence, and ill-advised stab at sarcasm is transmitted instantly to the other person. This behavior is so corrosive to normal conversation that you'd think it was some kind of bug.
Here's some news, we don't type in "normal conversations" either. Most of the time we use our voice, and sometimes we have difficulty organizing our thoughts, using proper grammar, and from laughing at inappropriate times. So if you don't want to type-- pick up the phone.

Google Wave is more like a normal conversation than conventional chatting. There is something to be learned from watching our fellow paddlers organize their thoughts. Right now, we're all paddlers trying to learn this new way of constructing knowledge. We're going to have to learn to embrace the messiness. That so many are freaked by Wave tells me that there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

I'm sticking with  my original assessment-- it's going to be huge.

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Bud Gibson said...

Kevin, I'm in your camp on this. Wave could do with some simplifications, but the platform shows real promise for collaboration.

Bud Gibson said...

Let me add further that I think that Wave *will* have to clean up its act a bit for mass adoption. It's not at the brain dead simple stage yet.

Google is really trying to do some sort of combo of IM, wiki, and email. What are the real use cases and standards of practice that just work? Email and IM are sort of obvious in this regard. Wikis less so. How you would put all three together, probably less than wikis. I'm not sure that the patterns of behavior that work with any one will transfer over.

So, I agree on huge, but I think it might be a decade long process.

Kevin Gamble said...

Bud, we're in agreement here. It does have some rough edges and needs to become easier. Which is why I was surprised when the Slate article didn't focus on that at all except for the title.

I think the collaborative writing thing make take off more than people think. It's pretty much like Google Docs now in regards to the interface, but it adds has the necessary social aspects.

I think it will take some time to catch on. I suspect we'll see some really cool apps built on Wave for starters. I don't think it will take a decade, however. (But why quibble over a couple of years either way.)


Bud Gibson said...

One thing I did with my recent wave invites (after frittering away about half on acquaintances) was to invite people I thought I might actually collaborate with. That will allow me to be more concrete.