Ridin’ the Google Wave December 9, 2009Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Computers , trackback
Surfing the Wave! Whoo-hoo!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you might have noticed a minor uproar on the internet being made over something called Google Wave. (And NO, I don’t have any invites). But seriously – the web has exploded with people talking about, hyping up, and begging for the oh-so-exclusive invites to get in and try it out. So this post is going to serve two purposes: explain, best as I can, what exactly Google Wave is, as well as share my initial impressions of it.
More after the jump:
What is Google Wave:
This was actually the toughest part of the article, and depending on where you go, you’ll get different impressions. Basically… well, there is no basically here. Google Wave is something that is unlike anything else out there on the internet – a sort of combination of email, chat, corroborative document editing, forum discussions… It has bits of everything in it.
The basic “thing” in Google Wave is the overall message, like an “email” – is a Wave. That’s like the overall email – it has a heading, and messages inside. So far, so good. Inside that Wave, is your message – a blip. Now here’s where things get kinda confusing: waves are made up of multiple blips – so all replies are kept in that same wave, as replies to your blip – kinda like Gmail and the way is does email conversations. However, blips don’t need to be linear (one after the other) replies – unlike email, you can reply anywhere in the Wave, to anyone’s comments anywhere. Which can get confusing. Also, not only can you reply TO any blip in the the Wave, you can also reply IN THE MIDDLE of someone else’s blip. And, to top it all off, you can edit a blip that someone else wrote (which adds you as an author to it).
Waves can also be public – where anyone can join them. If you’re new to Wave, and don’t know anyone, this is a good place to start – it’ll help give you a look at how it’s used by real people, and there are waves on pretty much everything.
So, that’s the basic Wave overview. Uses of this? Well, if you actually have enough people on Wave, it could be used for a study session of some sort – everything on Wave is in real time: you see what your friends write as you type it. So it’d be a great way to study with large amounts of friends. The corroborative editing thing can be used for group project – when you have to work on a paper or lab report with friends, without having to take time to meet in person and have to share a computer. Or you could use it to just hang out – again, the live chatting, forum-style organization, and reply anywhere features make it work pretty well for just chilling out online. For teens, this does have potential.
As for my impressions? I’m very impressed with the concept, and the uses of it in terms of schoolwork sound appealing. However, I have found it to be a bit buggy, occasionally acting sluggishly and crashing my browser. Also, the scarcity of invites, as well as the complexity of the site makes it hard to get a feel for the corroboration aspects – very few people I know have Wave, and even fewer actually use it.
If you have an invite, and are looking for a place to start, or get more information, I’ll point you towards the Complete Guide to Google Wave – its something I’ve found to be incredibly useful in getting a hang for wave, and figuring out the more advanced function.