Ok, so Google Wave has been released now to 100,000 people, with many more being invited as time goes by. At first, the userbase will primarily be geeks and Google fans. Nobody really knows how much Wave will evolve, or how important it will end up being. It could flop drastically and become a niche community like Orkut and Knol, or it could achieve its goals and become the de facto online communications tool. All we know at the moment is that it’s a bit slow, has gaps in browser support, and people are quite confused. But it’s fun, quirky, and here to stay.
At the time of writing this, the invites are still going out. The nominations we made as first batch users don’t appear to have been sent out yet, so Wave is currently full of strangers writing haikus, limericks and putting pins on maps together. The majority of the users don’t even realise there is a huge public scene on Wave yet (tip: search for ‘with:public’ to enter the scene, and search ‘-public’ for all your private waves) and are most likely bored of making waves on their own while waiting for their friends to join. Seems the majority of the people getting involved in the public waves were us folks from the developer sandbox, and we pretty much rehashed everything that we did before in this new system. Before long, we had FAQs, Tips and Tricks, and Keyboard Shortcut waves broadcasting their light over stormy waters. Not to mention the all-important community etiquette guidelines, which brings me onto my next point: flame wars. No corner of the internet goes unscathed from that most fundamental human desire to tell somebody just how wrong they are…
That’s right. In a wave created to share funny limericks, we have guys hurling insults over parental guidelines. But it’s not all like that – there were many examples of collaborative behaviour, and it works very well indeed. At one point, there were five people contributing to the same document – all in harmony. Correcting each others mistakes, focussing on their own little areas. While the wave was being built, there were many little blips appearing offering comments on the content, which were noted in real-time, and edits made. These were all strangers. A glimpse of the future? From my perspective, it was great to see the possibilities of shared coding as well, I hope something interesting comes from that too.
We even have robots to make it pretty for us while we type! Confusion is rife though, we’ve been handed this alien technology that goes against everything we’ve learned. One of the more popular waves (135 messages) is titled “I really don’t know yet what to use Wave for.” In the words on one fanboy: “Now all we need to do is figure out what Google wants us to do, and pray in its general direction.”
So, here at 3DMarComms, we’re looking into how we can embrace Wave into HARBOUR ATS. Let’s be honest here, our product names were just born to sail together. Ride those choppy waves into our safe harbour – right? Nomenclature aside, we think Wave is going somewhere interesting and – regardless of the hype and confusion – we’ll be keeping our eyes open. We suggest you do too!
P.S., Say hello if you’re already on there – email@example.com