Google Wave At A Glance
Last week, Google opened sign-ups for Google Wave to everyone as part of
Google Labs and made it available for all Google Apps domains. Here is
the quick (seven minute) update on the state of the product from this
year's Google IO conference:
Today, it's been a full year since the Wave team first got on stage at
the Moscone Center and demoed a new vision
for communication and collaboration to a crowd of developers. In a guest
article on the Huffington Post last week, Lars described innovation
and working on Google Wave as a rollercoaster—and this year has
certainly been a fascinating ride. For the past year, I've had the
pleasure and the challenge of explaining why this new
technology is useful. Unlike some other products that I have also
been lucky enough to work on, Wave is not a more advanced approach to a
known application like webmail or the browser. It's actually a new
category, which can be kind of hard to wrap your head around.
work in Wave every day, and we have identified a number of clear use cases for getting
things done in groups at businesses and at
schools. But people also ask me how I use Wave
outside of work to understand how they should start using it themselves.
As it turns out, the ways I use Wave aren't revolutionary or
groundbreaking—I communicate about everyday things, but it is these
incredibly ordinary and important communications that are transformed in
unexpected ways when you use Wave.
I wave with my family—with my
mom, who is across the country, and with my sister who is a graduate
student. We're all on different schedules and very rarely all online at
the same time. In one wave, we decided what to wear for a friend's
wedding—adding suggestions for each other with links and pictures,
updating the wave as we had side conversations and made decisions. My
mom and I chatted about my dress choice when we were both online, and
then my sister was easily able to catch up later, adding her ideas. It
kept all three of us up to speed in one place, rather than having
several phone conversations, emails and chats. Sharing these small
personal projects in a wave removes the little bits of friction to make
the discussions more dynamic and productive.
From talking to other people who use Google Wave, I know I'm not alone.
I've been struck by the really personal nature of communicating and
working together in Wave, and the emotional response people have to
their first uniquely wavey experience, what we call the "Wave a-ha
moment." For many people it's the live typing that does it; for others
it's the first time they create an in-line reply, embed a YouTube video
or edit someone else's text.
You really do have to try it to
believe it, though—so if you checked out Google Wave six months ago and
found yourself at a bit of a loss, take another look. The product is
much faster and more stable and it has templates and tutorials to help
you get started.