Saturday, 7 November 2009

Wave at the geeks and religous nuts.

Ok! I admit it. I am a try-hard early adopter. I'm not a real early adopter because the real ones will go out and "buy" something that brand spanking new gadget and I'll only partake in the free technological revolutions. That's why I love closed beta's because once you're in, your instantly popular because others need an invitation (possible from you) to be in the "in" crowd as well.

I persevered with twitter for a long time before I worked out how to make it useful, how to block out the spammers and how to develop meaningful conversations with strangers. Perhaps I'm getting less patient or perhaps I've just lost the need to be that kid with the newest pair of Air Jordon's but Google Wave seems a whole lot of something we've always had.

For about a week now, I've tried to make Google Wave useful. The problem is I don't have enough friends that use Wave. I've invited a couple of colleagues and I have a couple of friends that already have Wave accounts but even though I've made Wave my home page I can't see how I'd use it to replace what I already use. For instance, the collaborative nature of Wave at the moment is in a threaded conversation for most Public waves. Unless it's a closed bunch of friends that could happily use one of many instant messaging services, the open conversations just seem like the comment section of a blog. Sure it's in real time and collaborative but it just makes it all the more difficult to follow the conversation.

If you perform the with:public search you see a stream of waves that are open to all users. A quick scan of the topics and you will realise who the real early adopters are. Immediately you have wannabe bloggers (like myself) polling people about which is the best is the best new mobile, how to actually use Wave and my favourite, Ask a Christian. In essence doing this type of search is like watching the public stream on twitter.

In fact, I get the feeling that Google have let the lunatics (a.k.a. engineers) take over the asylum on this one. From the back end, wave really is revolutionary and like Facebook is a platform that will support the imagination of every computer science student in the world. It is a user interface that mashes up the potential to mimic every major SNS in existence. As developers take hold, someone will develop an incredibly addictive version of Mafia Wars for Wave. In fact there's already a collaborate Soduku clique in Wave. You can mimic a chat room, you can mimic twitter, you can mimic facebook, you can mimic instant messaging. The problem with a pimped up social site is the person driving that "2 Fast 2 Furious" vehicle is usually a wanker.

But seriously, I'm not brave enough to really predict that Wave is a flop especially since this is still a preview and Google has really really deep pockets but I've been trying really really hard. I like Google and I want to believe that Wave will be as successful as GMail but honestly I don't feel so confident.

I could go on about not being able to intuitively work out how to do anything or how a notifier that could tell me when my contacts came online (like when you use GTalk in Gmail) but I'm going to stop whining now and will keep trying to find function because I haven't given up on you yet Google. I will say though, Dr. Wave needs a Mr. Hyde to work on making UI easier to use.


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