Google Wave Usability

Google Wave

I was super excited this morning when I got an invite to Google Wave. I’ve read about it, but whilst there’s been a lot of hype around it no-one seems to describe it such that I’ve really got it. Note – don’t expect me to be any different, I tried to explain to my boyfriend why I was so excited just a moment ago and he doesn’t seem to have any idea what I’m talking about.

Anyway, I’m an early adopter. I was on i’m in like with you back when it was hot and invitation only (now it’s more of a games site, before it was about flirting). So I’ve been bugging my friend who works at Google since I heard about Wave, and after he got in yesterday he very kindly sent me an invitation. I logged on, expecting to see something that would blow my mind… but it actually looks quite plain. See below:

Google Wave: Empty

Abstractly I think I thought that Wave would just replace my email. But I can’t send messages to people who aren’t on Wave, and the only contact I have is Dig. I also think Dig is getting bored of the incessant messaging (he, obviously, has a real job). Perhaps the most useful thing I can use it for at the moment is keeping track of the conversations in my head. I.e. I can have a Wave for a project, and write my little notes in it. However when my friends are on it, it’ll be amazing. At the moment we organize events through my Facebook status, but Wave is going to be a so much better solution. Ditto for WISE, sending out mass emails to 10+ people is a nightmare. People need to know what’s going on, but it clogs up your inbox. In a wave, you’ll just be able to skim the stuff that you need to be aware of and it’ll all be part of one conversation.

Having conversations online is not always that “usable” of an experience; they can be hard to follow, too many threads or responses can overwhelm your inbox or ability to keep up with them. I really think that from what I’ve seen so far Wave will improve that. It’s like – email (longer messages) meets IM (instantaneous, see when they’re typing) meets Facebook (converse with multiple people, passively watch threads) meets real life (yes/no/maybe and map gadgets allow you to gauge interest, plan routes etc – more gadgets are coming. Also not only can you see that someone is typing – you can see what they’re typing as they’re typing it) and something more. The conversations we have online, and how we have them are different from the way we communicate in real life. I think Wave might bring is back to a more “natural” way of conversing.

One last really cool thing, you can “play back” your conversation, see the button next to reply? If you had a long, confusing conversation I can see that being really useful.

More screenshots below:

Google Wave: My First Wave

Google Wave: Building a Conversation

Google Wave: Continuing the Conversation

Google Wave: Multiple Waves

By the way – I can’t invite people (yet). Wish I could! Sorry to the people who’ve already asked for invitations and those who want to after reading this!

6 replies on “Google Wave”

Sorry – like I mentioned at the end of the post I don’t have any invites. Good luck getting one!

Sorry – like I mentioned at the end of the post I don’t have any invites. Good luck getting one!

[…] I got my Wave invite early on, and when I used my invitations my priority was to invite people I collaborate with, whether that’s for socializing, WISE, or academically (my supervisor got one, for example – we’re ditching email for Wave). The invites finally came through and I’ve now had my first “Wave collaboration experience” and it was awesome. I have to write an outline/blog post for a project we’re working on. I added our VP communications to the Wave and wrote it, then she came in and made some corrections. Underneath the section we were editing, we had a short conversation about what we were working on. […]

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