Google Wave not quite right?

Posted by on April 6, 2010 in geeky stuff | 0 comments

If you’d like to know more about what Google Wave is and how it can be used, I’d start with this article on wave from Mashable.

In the name of experimentation and generally liking to play with new tech, I proudly engaged with Google Wave for a few projects… after a 6 month trial period (wow, how time flies) I report my findings and feelings… please add your thoughts in comments:

After the initial “testing wave 1 2 3” waves, I was involved in 3 projects, who all wanted to use wave as a form of communication/co-ordination – great, some real tests!

Project #1 – never got off the ground on wave, one of the participants rarely used anything other than his mobile and wave “doesn’t officially support any mobile platforms yet, but if you are feeling adventurous, you can try out Google Wave on Android phones, or on the iPhone.” – I tried, it failed (android 1.6)… he tried (Safari on iPhone) and failed. Dead in the water.

Project #2 – the aim for this one was a bit different, to use it more as an evolving document, outlining the project with waves covering sub topics – it required some interaction with other documents and this is where this one fell over. “Drag and drop” of documents? I’ve never got it to work, so we had to rely on linking to Google docs or other sources online which isn’t really the same. Again as time carried on, we moved to email and notes within a Google doc. Perhaps I’m missing something here, could something like Socialwok help?

Project #3 – Bar CampBournemouth planning – the one success, of sorts. Its worked pretty well for coordinating our efforts to organise #bcbomo2, once everyone had an account (luckily 2 of us had some spare invites) it grew and evolved as expected. The 2 things that weren’t great were:
1) It got a bit too large quite quickly, finding the right sub-waves/topics was difficult and it needed a trim to become more manageable – for corporate use I think I’d have a policy on what does and does not go within a wave (ie no off topic or “chat”).
2) Success was quite dependent on people checking the wave.

General findings and some tips:

Initially I think the biggest failure was to not have email notifications of new blips – there was an app you could add to a wave to do this, although now it’s a feature that is built in. This was the one that nearly sunk our BarCamp Bournemouth planning wave – you had to check if there were updates… rather than being nudged when there were.

I’ve also noticed times when having wave open has had a detrimental affect on performance of my PC, I’m using Firefox (not tried crome or IE) on an XP in my office, my laptop is Vista and my studio PC is a high powered audio PC running XP – all have had the same issue with it generally taking a lot of memory (I suspect), closing the wave tab has in all cases rectified the issue. Hopefully this is just a bug.

If you have more than 2 people in a wave typing/making updates in can really slow down to the point where you are waiting for it to catch up with the words you have typed, which is frustrating.

Some people have also claimed to hate the fact you can’t jump to the new “blips” within a wave… well, like Obama, yes you can. Click into the wave and press spacebar, it’ll jump to the next unread message.

All in all, it is still a beta and I do see potential benefits to a system like wave… would I use it again? Maybe.

Love to know your thoughts/top tips

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