Review: Google Wave

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rowan

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Review: Google Wave

Postby rowan » Tue Oct 27, 20:32 2009

By now, I imagine many of you have at least heard of Google Wave. When I heard about it, I was confused about what exactly it was trying to do. Well, I got an invite so I decided to check it out and see what the deal is. The basic idea is that you have a collaborative discussion (or "Wave") going on. This means that people involved in a "wave" can edit, contribute, and generally be involved all at the same time.

That simplifies it down to a sound bite, but let's take a further look.

First of all, I should say that it's in super-uber-beta yet, so there are a decent number of kinks to work out. For example, it says it works in Firefox 3.5, but I've the most recent stable Firefox installed and I had to delete my cache before it would work (why? I have no idea. But it worked.) But, aside from that, this is what I've learned today...

In a particular wave (a specific conversation that's been started):
* You can simultaneously be typing and see what other people are also typing (realtime).
* You can edit anything you write AND anything that other people write
* You can add files such as images or video
* With some extensions (added plugins) you can also have sound or live audio or video chat
* Other extensions let you add maps or other useful things

So basically, it's like getting all your friends (or coworkers, or whatever) up to the same whiteboard, giving them all markers and all erasers, and access to post pictures/video/etc all over the same whiteboard all at once. Sound complicated? It wasn't too bad, actually.

Some of my concerns were:
* How can I tell if someone has edited a post? Answer: it says so, right where it says who wrote the post. If someone makes a change since the last time you saw it, it highlights the change. There is a way to see how each individual change was made (you can "play back" the wave, which shows bit by bit how it was changed), so that should at least somewhat discourage people from being dishonestly stupid in the "he said" "no I didn't!" sense (not that I've ever seen that on the internet...).

* Is there a way to make something un-editable? Answer: Not that I can tell, not yet. This makes it less useful for things like, say, classroom teaching, where as a teacher I might be inclined to want to mark specific things un-editable by students. However it's possible that I just wasn't able to figure it out yet.

* How can I tell if my friends/coworkers/collaborators are online? Answer: I don't think you can, just yet. :( This makes me sad because if I want to get people online to do a collaborative thing, it helps to know if they're actually online.

* There's a bug that doesn't show people's avatars. Not a big deal, and I'm sure they'll get it fixed, but it does make it harder to see who's invited to a specific wave.

* In order to do sound/video chat I have to install an extension. It's not entirely clear to me how much info the companies who make the extensions get to pull about you. (I hate FB apps too, can you tell?)

* When two or more people are participating in a simultaneous chat, sometimes people will respond to things that are currently being said in a different "blip" (ok, I hate "blip" and I think it should be called "wavelet" - basically a single "post" within a wave). What this means is that the conversation can make utterly no sense whatsoever:

wavelet1 wrote:Hi I was just thinking that we should go to the Bahamas for spring break. No not yet, I wanted to know when to leave.
Ok, hey did you know that Jerry left a ton of radishes in the fridge?
Who knows.

wavelet2 wrote:Yeah, that sounds good. Have you checked out prices?
Saturday's good.
No, really? Why?


That's a pretty simple example, but imagine having more than one person and people editing and messing with everything all at the same time. I think this is something that would get pretty confusing.

One thing that is nice is you can hit spacebar to read all the "new" stuff. So at least you don't have to go and find it all (new stuff is marked with a vertical bar on the side).

I would like an extension that lets me make and move flowchart bits all over the place and type in them and add arrows and things. That would be a nice, powerful, useful thing for collaborations. It would also be useful to have things like a white board space, an image space, a "chat" space all for the same wave.

For now, I give Google Wave a :ducky: :ducky: / :ducky: :ducky: :ducky: :ducky: :ducky: but I think it will improve as people beta it, give feedback, and create more extensions for it.

(and no, I don't have any invites yet)
Global warming is intricately tied to the decline in the pirate population. As the pirate population goes down, the average global temperature goes up. Ergo, pirates are cool, and we need more pirates. :pirate: ARRR!

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Chococat

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Re: Review: Google Wave

Postby Chococat » Tue Oct 27, 22:07 2009

I'm really excited about Google Wave. It's so exciting and it's got so much potential! I watched the video of the unveiling presentation where they went through and showed everything it could do, it was awesome. About conversations getting impossible to read because of non-temporized (I am making up this word) edits - isn't there a function that "plays" the messages one at a time in the order they were received so you can see what order edits were made while you were gone?

(Sorry if this is illegible, high-femming and srs posting don't go well together.)
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rowan

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Re: Review: Google Wave

Postby rowan » Wed Oct 28, 8:05 2009

Yes there is - the one drawback to it is you can't just "play" an individual wavelet (damned if I'm going to call it a blip ;)). At the moment it only plays the whole wave. This is problematic if it's a huuuuuge wave with lots of people, you have to sit there and watch the whole thing until you see just the one you want. I hope they change that.
Global warming is intricately tied to the decline in the pirate population. As the pirate population goes down, the average global temperature goes up. Ergo, pirates are cool, and we need more pirates. :pirate: ARRR!

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cwbyrvr

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Re: Review: Google Wave

Postby cwbyrvr » Thu Oct 29, 18:55 2009

I got an invite and all the fucking videos and explanations and crap bored THE SHIT out of me so I never went back to it. Whoops.
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sarcasticgal1221

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Re: Review: Google Wave

Postby sarcasticgal1221 » Sat Oct 31, 13:48 2009

I just got my invite, and I'm just waaaaiting to get my code...
Last edited by sarcasticgal1221 Just Now, edited infinite times in total.

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Chococat

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Re: Review: Google Wave

Postby Chococat » Wed Nov 18, 20:35 2009

I was invited and just set mine up! But I don't know enough people who have it for it to be useful at all.
Jesus christ, I'm a wizard! Get in the car!

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cwbyrvr

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Re: Review: Google Wave

Postby cwbyrvr » Wed Nov 18, 21:16 2009

Chococat wrote:But I don't know enough people who have it for it to be useful at all.

I think this is the main reason I just sort of forgot about it after a couple of days.
spacefem wrote:incidently, hearing "i love you" doesn't count if you're naked. it's just too easy to love a naked person.

Rainbow Dolphins wrote:My armpits are the only area of my body that almost always stays clean-shaven, because if I let it go I feel like a 15-year-old boy trying to grow a beard. In my armpits.


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