Google Wave - Usage and Potential

It got me really excited when I came across the introductory video of the new application from Google - Wave. It seemed to be feature rich from a truly collaborative tool perspective. The video itself was very nicely done with proper examples and how to use this new wave.

And then it was a long wait of few months before Google started distributing invites for private beta. I was eagerly waiting to get the invite as I had promptly registered and opted for beta invite when I had known about it. Finally I could manage to get an invite (although secondary) from one of my friends around 1.5 months back.

As it happens with every new toy, there was a lot of enthusiasm to try out this new tool. Meghana could also manage to get one invite for herself. And then for few days we used this tool as a "chat" application. It was really cool to see what the other person is typing in real time - his/her edits/deletes etc. The interesting part was I could add comment to any of the earlier post and the threaded discussion could start there onwards. Although never used much, the "replay" feature is also one of the attractions for this tool.

After toying for few days, I started wondering what's the real use of this tool and how other people are using it. Decided to use the "wave" itself to gather the opinion about the usage patterns. Create a new wave and added about 20 odd friends, rather whoever was available on my wavelist with a questions - How are you using Google Wave? Also posted the same thing on my FB status and also tweeted about it.

To my disappointment only three of them really responded. One was using it more as a "Group chat", the other was using it with his brother as a "web conferencing tool" for real time file edits, chat etc. And the third one claimed to use it a "lot" for personal and work related activities.

I feel that there's immense potential for this tool to turn out as the "best collaborative tool" specially for smaller groups with heavy collaboration needs. But at least from the group that I have access to, only a few of them are using it. Others, either haven't given serious attention to this tool, or haven't really got the power of this app.

Some of the features that I find extremely important:
  1. Excellent tool for real time collaboration, threaded discussions.
  2. One can add participants on the fly and they immediately get the entire discussion immediately. No need to "forward" "all" the mails in a given thread and take a chance to miss out on some.
  3. Option to respond "privately", just in case something needs to be taken up outside the current thread.
  4. "Replay" feature to track the timeline of the discussion - who said what and when
And where would this app be useful? Here is my list:
  1. Distributed developer community - e.g. OpenSource project
  2. If Google decides, this could be the ultimate Enterprise Collaborative tool. The Enterprise edition will help the enterprises keeping data within their n/ws and hence can be used to discuss company confidential items as well.
  3. Family chat - given the decentralized nature of families, this app could act as a good chat app where you can share photos, videos, files and more importantly can revisit all those discussions whenever you want :)
  4. At a personal level, one can use it just as a notebook, to track things on a regular basis.
Any other usage you can think of? Leave a comment here.

Comments

Unknown said…
I think features given in Google Wave are just few demo features which displays power of the platform.
Judging Google Wave on existing features might not be a good idea.

If you look at the platform and its power (real time updates, replay, runtime add/delete.. and everything else you mentioned) and think about building other applications (code reviewer, forum, wiki++..etc) on that, that is what is aimed by Google Wave team.

And may be then we will realize the how good or bad is the idea.
Mandar Behere said…
Viraj,

I am not "judging" the Wave. I am just stating how limited current usage pattern is :)

your points about the building applications over this platform are absolutely true. but any tool is only as good as it's real usage, isn't it? I'd prefer to wait and watch the developments on this Wave domain.

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