From what I’ve seen, the realtime aspects of Wave are both the most intriguing, and the most problematic. I think the root of the issue is that conversations need to be mostly linear, or else they become incomprehensible. […] Wave puts the conversation into little Gmail-like boxes, but then makes them update in realtime. The result is that […] the chronological linkage and flow of the conversation is lost.
I don’t know what Google has planned for Wave or Gmail, but if I were them I would continue improving Wave, and then once it’s ready for the whole world to use, integrate it into Gmail [to] give it a huge userbase, and partially address the “email is universal” problem. They could use MIME multi-part to send both a non-Wave, HTML version of the message, and the Wave version. Wave-enabled mail readers would display the live Wave, while older mailers would show the static version along with a link to the live Wave.
Lineariteit in Wave tegen de chaos en integratie in Gmail tegen de eenzaamheid. Ik hoop dat er daar in Mountain View nog iemand naar Paul (die Friendfeed opstartte en sinds de overname dus bij Facebook werkt) luistert.
Kwestie van die eenzaamheid, ik heb dit weekend nog een paar nominatie-slots gekregen. Vertel me in de comments op m’n blog waarom ge per se op Wave wilt en wie weet krijgt ge één van die 7 Wave invites van mij. En ja, als ge er een haiku van maakt of als ge mij op een andere manier kunt entertainen (tip: een Ukelele werkt altijd), dan maakt ge natuurlijk net iets meer kans …
Als je hier terecht gekomen bent op zoek naar een Wave invite, klik dan door naar deze blogpost.
Google Wave is not a content management system. By far. Sure there’s content, but you can’t manage it, you can just release it to the world and hope it doesn’t get obliterated. The current pre-beta implementation indeed lacks some important functionality, rendering the platform useless for anything more than small-time collaboration and chatty communication.
So what is wrong with Wave? Well, basically, there’s a complete lack of rights management. If you start a wave and invite 5 people to participate, all of them immediately have full access. If you make a wave public, everyone has full read/write permissions. There is no official way to make a wave read-only. So from the moment others have access to your wave, your wave isn’t yours any more. That’s might be OK when you’re collaborating with people you know and trust, but if you want to use it for anything more, you’re bound to run into serious trouble.
But wait, the same is the case in the biggest collaborative platform of them all! Because on Wikipedia anyone can read and write everything as well, no? Well, not entirely. Besides the fact that Wikipedia can (and does) protect specific pages, there is another important difference; Wikipedia allows anyone to view and compare revisions and to easily undo or roll back changes to a previous version. Wave, on the other hand, only has the nifty but otherwise rather useless playback-feature. Period. You can playback a wave, you can see the damage being done before your very eyes, but there’s no ‘undo’, there’s no rollback.
So a fellow waver messes up your darling wave and you undid the damage by hand, deleting the garbage and copy/pasting your own undoubtedly valuable content back in. And off course you want to remove the vandal from your wave and … that is not possible. There currently is no means to “kickban” a malicious participant from your wave.
And to finish things up; once you and your fellow wavers finished collaborating and have something that outside world should see, there’s no way to publish that content for non-Wavers. You’ll have to resort to old-fashioned copy/paste to allow others to access your content.
So to summarize; once you add people to your wave, you’re completely at their mercy! There’s no permissions, no workflow and no versioning. And oh, you can’t make your content available for the whole world to see either. But hey, Google makes that lack of basic content management functionality sure look sexy, don’t they?
So you’ve finally received your Google Wave invite, you logged on and now you’re feeling utterly lost and alone? Don’t worry, everyone does at first. Here are some tips & tricks that might help you to surf those waves fearlessly.
You can play with the other kids in public waves, just enter “with:public” in the search box, optionally combined with one or more keywords.
You can make your own wave public as well:
add “email@example.com” to your contacts (last time I checked pressing the submit-button didn’t work, but hitting ‘enter’ on your keyboard does the trick)
add that ‘public’ contact to the wave you want to make publicly accessible
optionally add tags to your wave for easy discovery
Those public waves sure are great, but there’s always a but!
Making an entry public can cause a lot of people to come on by (esp. if you’re waving in English and your wave has content that those darn geeks might search for).
And your passers-by automatically have read & write access to all content in your public wave.
You can add all sorts of non-human actors to your wave as well. Your can find a non-exhaustive list of such robots and gadgets on http://wave-samples-gallery.appspot.com/. The Wolfram|Alpha robot is particularly fun to interact with; ask a question (between square brackets) and it’ll (try to) answer with a reply in the wave.
Anxious to know if there are new replies in your waves but don’t want to keep that memory hog (yep, Wave still eats RAM for breakfast) open all day long? There’s a Firefox plugin for that, which will periodically connect with Wave and display the number of new replies.
You can also access Wave on your mobile, it should more or less work on Android-devices and on the iPhone. Just go oto wave.google.com on your handset and fearlessly click through when you’re presented with a warning about browser compatibility.
But it seems rather slow, might be too much data being pumped through that 3G+ connection?
You can find more great wave tips (with a nice cheat sheet for keyboard shortcuts) on http://lifehacker.com/5376138/google-wave-101. Just one example maybe, which might save you quite some time when you’re participating in a large public wave: press ‘space’ to go to the next unread message.
Ik las een deel van de tekst van Wave overigens voor op onze (vrijzinnige) trouwceremonie:
I’ll run to you, nothing stands between us now
Nothing I can lose
This light inside can never die
Another world just made for two
I’ll swim the seas inside with you
And like the waves, without a sound
I’ll never let you down
Op zo’n moment mag je wat dramatisch uit de hoek komen, niet?
Now off course the developer sandbox is not the best place to get to know Wave, as it contains a tsunami of information from the dev-channel. Moreover you’re kind of missing the point if you’re playing around in a communication- and collaboration-platform where you don’t know anyone, aren’t you? Anyhow, I did get a feel of the platform and indeed Wave is an impressive effort to redefine online communication and collaboration. It’s like a combination of the best ideas in e-mail, usenet (the threaded conversations) and irc (real-time communication) in one environment (i.e. the Wave web-client). But the realtime updates and collaboration also give it a Twitter and -even more- a Facebook feel. Wave seems to be all of that, with the potential to become even more.
But as consequence of all that richness, the interface is very complicated, with a lot of info and functionality competing for your attention. On my 1280X800 laptop screen everything looked as if it was squeezed in using brute force, in some cases resulting in overlapping text and other small layout-issues. Maximizing a wave to use the entire Wave-desktop and switching my browser to full-screen mode seemed to solve that problem, but the Wave-developers probably don’t run into such problems, having nice large high-resolution screens while coding?
I guess the Rasmussen brothers not only enjoy working on large screens, their computers are bound to also have a better-than-broadband network-connection to the Wave-servers and -even more importantly- a huge amount of memory. While testing the Wave web application on my 2Gb laptop it was horribly slow to render and update on occasions. I tried Wave in Firefox 3.5.3 (both on Windows XP sp3 and Ubuntu 8.04) and in Chrome 18.104.22.168. The amount of data being pulled from the internet is intimidating, but the effect it has on browser memory usage is simply frightening! While testing I have seen both Firefox and Chrome use between 0.5 and 1Gb of memory, of which at a certain point in time 800Mb were used by the tab containing Wave!
I don’t know about you, but in my book this means that Wave is de facto unusable. According to an article on Webmonkey, Google is aware of this problem as well and hopes to work around some of the biggest issues:
“Latency is an obsession of ours,” says Rasmussen.
Some limitations within the browser are keeping Wave from running as quickly as he wants. When a Wave becomes long, for example, it can take awhile to open it. The team is working on a pre-loading system where you don’t have to load the whole Wave to start reading it or adding to it, just the first couple of pages. Then as you scroll, it keeps loading, speeding things up.
Another hang-up, one typical of young web applications, is that Wave slows down after you’ve used it for a few hours. This is due to memory leaks, and refreshing the browser page or restarting the browser solves it. But plugging those holes so browser refreshes aren’t necessary is the obvious goal.
During my tests I noticed some other small bugs as well. I never succeeded in replaying a wave (a nice feature to see how a conversation evolved over time) for example. Inserting or displaying a gadget in a wave never seemed to work either.
Not withstanding these little big problems, I’m looking forward to be able to test the “normal” preview version that just got launched. I’m pretty sure it won’t suffer from the skyrocketing memory-usage issue to the same extent, largely due to the fact that the amount of information in there will be a lot less (not as much waves, not as much wavelets in waves). Now if only Google would turn my nomination into an invitation?