So what really is Google Wave

As of right now, I do not have a Google Wave invite, but the blog buzz is kinda interesting to see. The one thats prompting me to write this post is the one by Ryan Stewart titled “Google Wave pisses me off”. I commented on his post but it was such a long comment that it seemed to warrant a post.

I think Wave as a technology is different from Wave the product. Technically everything Wave does could be done with some XMPP servers powering a real time wiki or something like that. I think to Google’s credit, they applied the tech to an interesting problem. I am no Google fanboy and find most of their applications functional but not exciting (though I use Maps, GMail and GReader like crazy), but Wave excites me for a number of reasons.

It was a good observation by Google that a lot of communication we do on the web is fairly similar but fragmented. We have conventionally considered things like blog posts, twitter feeds, IMs, emails, collaborative document sharing to be different things, but are they really? Arent we all manipulating a basic content document. Can one interface serve all the needs?

Consider that you run a group (I manage a couple on OpenPyro and CIM Logbook and help out with Philadelphia Flex Dev Group and RefreshPhilly). If you want to announce the new event, do u post to the google group there and wait for replies, or post a message on the group blog and wait for comments, or tweet it and wait for @replies? Usually I do all of them and it seems really silly (more so since I saw the GWave demo). Its kind of interesting to see a tool that *could* change that.

Whether Google will really succeed remains to be seen. John Gruber phrased GWave as not only technically complex but also conceptually complex. Could I get my mom to use it, no way. But maybe it’ll take our generation before it becomes a new standard for web communication. In the meanwhile I anxiously wait for an invite :).

Other links:
Why Google Wave is Conceptually Simple
What works: The web way vs. the wave way

[update] I have no more invites left, so please dont ask me for one 😦

Author: Arpit Mathur

Arpit Mathur is a Principal Engineer at Comcast Labs where he is currently working on a variety of topics including Machine Learning, Affective Computing, and Blockchain applications. Arpit has also worked extensively on Android and iOS applications, Virtual Reality apps as well as with web technologies like JavaScript, HTML and Ruby on Rails. He also spent a couple of years in the User Experience team as a Creative Technologist.

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