So I had Wave account for some time, thanks to invitations from regular reader and commenter xangelo of Feet Have Been and rennablue of… I have no idea who this is, no hits in any contacts. :)
By now there is enough stuff on Wave posted to confuse anybody, so for for those who have access to preview version or not either – let’s carefully go over established facts and look at what is defined for sure.
- Wave – is product, being developed by Google, with the paradigm of it to be major communication platform. Much of Wave is or will be open source. Google intends for it to be more of a standard, rather than dedicated Google service;
- wave – single thread of conversation;
- blip – single wave message;
- extensions, gadgets and bots – tools of various kind that can be attached to waves and extend their functionality.
What Wave is
There is already myriad of definitions for Wave. My issue with those – they are precise, while Wave is actually very general thing.
Wave is foremost communication platform that defines core features and options for building on top of those.
Core features are:
- speed – messages are being exchanged in near-realtime, character by character;
- editorial options – messages can be edited, while history of all changes is preserved (playback feature);
- flexibility – waves can fit multiply classic paradigms, such as IM, email, forum, wiki and more, as well as any combination of those.
While existing tools and services aim at maximize convenience of usual means of communication, Wave gives you tools to work out own style, pace and form to communicate in.
At down to earth level – Wave is exclusively (for now) Google service in early development stages.
State of Wave
As of now it is defined as preview. It’s not even beta, and most certainly it is far from Google’s (very broken) definition of beta.
- access is limited to those who registered early for preview and their contacts via invitation system;
- stability, performance and browser support are very raw;
- integration with existing methods of communication is yet to come.
Wave is full of people who signed up just-because and those who genuinely try to make sense of it. In current stay it is playground and far from valid tool.
What Wave feels like
While intuition is subjective, it rarely fails me when poking new product. As for me Wave feels right. It is flexible enough to allow complex communication thread with multiply people, yet manages to keep structure intact and prevents talk from falling apart.
While Wave as form of communication is impressive, Wave as web app is much less so. Some interface decisions defy staples of usability (custom scroll bars, seriously?) and it all clunks as generic web2.0ish stuff in a bad sense.
Luckily form here is of less importance and given open nature of platform it will be ironed out… or undercut by better alternatives.
Why bother with Wave
There is thin balance here:
- Google wants it to succeed and puts own name on that, frankly if Wave was nameless startup – hype would have died in a week;
- Wave has no chance to succeed, unless widely adopted outside of Google reach as well as inside.
Ideal Wave scenario – it replaces email as primary online communication pipe and cannibalizes as many other pipes as it can while at it.
What I find most interesting is that other large companies have no symmetric answer to Wave. I see several distinct possibilities:
- Google surprised everyone and hijacked new niche;
- Wave is expected to fail;
- other companies plan to make use of open Wave technology, letting Google do grunt work and scrubbing Google logo of it later.
In my opinion for regular user there is no gain to invest in using Wave early and there is no loss to ignore it either. It might become common and essential but that possibility is hardly set in stone.
Wave is giant project with high potential that will play out depending on two factors:
- integration into existing communication chains;
- global adoption.
Have a Wave account already? Add me firstname.lastname@example.org (I hate extra R, who knew it will haunt my Google account forever) and come chat blip around at official Rarst.net wave.