Reading this great article about Google Wave by Chris Brogan made me think it would be a good idea to share my own views about the latest piece of the Google Puzzle to become unveiled (well, there have been others but this one seems like the most relevant new tool to come out of Mountain View, CA in a while!)
Like most people you can talk to, Google Wave has been a tremendous help in collaborating remotely with others in project work. Specifically, working with David Edelman around the World Diabetes Day USA initiatives last year became A LOT easier thanks to Google Wave. We’d both be on Wave and speaking through Skype as we wrote on the same wave, creating content together, correcting each other on the spot, literally crafting the entire campaign while saving ourselves rework, follow-up emails and tons of replies/replies/replies.
So, in that respect, conference calls and meetings can turn into work sessions, increasing productivity big time. By having users be on the same Wave they can be more on the same page (that came out a little cheesy!)
What are the big shortcomings I am seeing with Google Wave?
- It’s still a bit rough on the edges: it’s definitely still an early adopters space, kind of like Twitter back in 2006-early 2007. So not too many people (at least not ALL people) are there, which makes it challenging if you want to collaborate seamlessly.
- It still is very isolated from the rest of the Google suite of products. The two specific products that I MISS seeing it connect with are: Gmail and GTalk. Connecting it with Gmail (notifications about updates on Waves, etc.) is a no-brainer to me (I don’t mean easy to implement, but valuable to the user). Connecting it with GTalk, supporting video and audio while being on the same wave would make the use of other complementary tools like Skype or iChat unnecessary, since you have all you need to host your collaborative work session within Google Wave.
- Bots that let you do interesting things within Google Wave besides straightup content co-creation are still a mystery to most. Getting by useful Wave Bots (such as the bot that lets you tweet from within Wave) is still more of an art than something structured, reminding me at times of the dark early days of the web, back in 1994-96, when directories like Yahoo! were the way to find good sites…
In the meantime, while Google Wave continues to evolve and become more robust, check out this useful 101 put together by LifeHacker, to help people make the most of Google Wave.