If you’re one of my few twitter followers, you’ve probably seen a tweet or two about me poking around with Google Wave here and there. Like everyone else, I was very unsure at first of it’s form and function. But now that I’ve had some time to tinker and have just let it steep in my brain, some very interesting uses keep popping into my head. I’m starting to envision great ways to use this tool but I’m not so sure it’s in-line with what everyone else has in mind.
Oh, where to begin.
The tagline for Google Wave is
an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration
You cannot argue that there is an enormous real-time aspect to wave. It’s in your face from the beginning with see-as-they-type functionality seen in ICQ back in the day. The current interface Google has placed atop the Wave protocol resembles a threaded discussion forum (albeit much harder to read), the big difference being that it’s alive. If you watch a public wave with a couple dozen people or more it’s almost scary to watch the conversation evolve and grow in front of your eyes. Dizzying for sure. This behavior clearly brings instant messaging to mind, so it’s very easy to see how it could replace that mode of communication.
I happen to believe that while it will be valuable as a real-time collaboration tool, it may be even more valuable as a good disconnected collaboration platform. Think email, but where Sent and Received messages are replaced with a single wave representing the entire conversation. Documents? Screenshots? Notes? It’s all in the wave, the single container for both parties’ thoughts and assets. 5 months later when something new develops, or changes, or needs a followup, we don’t need to Forward an old email with hopes that they’ll remember the conversation. Rather a new item will simply be added to the wave and it’ll be brought to their attention. When you think of it like that, I think it makes much more sense. Natural even. It reduces the useless clutter that email produces.
It makes the time differential between posted items irrelevant. Time shifting for your conversations, if you will. Nothing new to discuss on this topic at the moment? Sure, I’ll just pause this conversation and resume it when the need arises.
For the other software developers out there, I can picture a peer code reviewing application sitting atop Wave. You begin with the source file and a conversation or roundtable can evolve around that code. As code is commited to your repository, this wave gets updated with the new code. Toss in a diagram if that helps explain a topic, link to other code waves for reference, attach performance results, etc, etc.. Every piece of information and data relating to that code in one place that fascilitates sharing and information flow.
Am I off base? What do you think of Wave’s capabilities?