Thursday, December 3, 2009

First Impressions of Google Wave

So in one of the first "waves" ever sent to me, Angie (who I'd sent an invite to Google Wave) asked, "So can you describe Google Wave in five words?" Like many of us she wanted to know why she would begin using this new platform without watching the looooong video on the "About Google Wave" site and why she wouldn't just use email or skype.

Well, I've been using it a bit and reading some good posts on what others thought of the wave. And while I think the possibilities down the road are great, here are some of my early impressions.

Things I like:
  • Like many Google products it's very intuitive and has a friendly, clean interface. You don't feel like you need a manual to get started. And if you have a Google account already this is just another piece to add.
  • Possibility to be a great tool for collaboration. Sure you can use it for email communication, but it might be at its best with groups, where you need to track the thread of the conversation. Google Wave might really be a great way to share information, links and documents all in one "wave," in real-time.
  • Less email (the bane of my existence on some days...I can't even talk about it) or at least the possibility to create one wave that would allow participants to respond without several "replies to all" ending up in inboxes.
Things I don't like (right now):
  • Seems slow. In a few practice waves with multiple contributors the "real-time" communication was a little slow. I imagine this will get better as Google continues to work out the kinks.
  • Not enough people on wave. As invites to wave continue to go out this will also get better, but Google Wave is not very exciting if you don't have anyone to wave to.
To be fair Google Wave is still in "preview mode," so it will improve and there are all sorts of cool things I've heard will eventually be a part of wave. So for now I enjoy what it is and look forward to the future of the wave.

In the meantime I have three more invites to Google Wave. I'll send them to the first three educators who contact me with the email or gmail account they'd like to use.

Oh, and my answer in five words was skypeIM + email + Wiki = google wave. Not bad for a five word limit. :)

Additional Links & Readings: