Monday, February 1, 2010

Thoughts on Google Wave

During my course in digital media, all teacher student communications are taking place in google wave. These communications are one my first experiences with the program, and I decided that starting out with the program was a good opportunity to explore some questions I had about it and to make some comments.

I've had google wave for maybe a month, and checked my account only a couple of times. While it seemed interesting, I did not really seem to have any real reason to explore it until now. As soon as Nicola, (my History and Theory of New Media teacher) and I agreed to use it we came up with the problem of reminding ourselves to check it. One of the most important problems I foresee for google wave is people forgetting about it. There are a few things that could keep me (and other users) coming back to the program, which is something that google has to focus on at this point in development.

Can I Forward e-mail to wave?

It seems like if google wave is going to be an e-mail replacement, it should somehow sync with what I have for e-mail right now. This means that I want my old e-mails to come to my google wave in-box. I'm going to check whatever program people send me things in, and whatever I'm checking is what I'm going to be sending people things out of. This means that I want my gmail mail (where people actually send me things) forwarded to my google wave, and to be able to respond to e-mails through google wave. So is this possible?

According to google, this is not possible, for now. Until this happens I do not for-see google wave replacing e-mail anytime soon, but once membership is open to the public it could be less of a problem.

Google Wave Notifications?

Since it would be pointless for me to integrate google wave into part of my work flow at this point and check it every day, I need a way to let me know when I do have new waves. For windows , I installed the firefox plugin. For my mac I installed Hiroshi's Unofficial Google Wave Notifier, which works like google notifier and sits on the top of my screen and works with growl.

How to Join Public Waves

Another main issue I had from jumping into wave was the fact that I did not really have any way to really test it out or see examples. My first experience with wave made it seem more like e-mail, however what I knew about wave made it sound like it had more public forum capabilities, but how to access these public forms so I could see what wave was capable of?

The answer is not something I would have guessed on my own. In the search box, you have to search with: public

This is a great example of the power of search modifiers. They are things which I will probably explore more in depth later in this course when I talk about different methods of finding information.

Wave as an Instant Messenger

Anyhow, upon googling "with:public" I was bombarded by my first massive wave experience, it's almost...too much...

Using wave as a messenger seems like it would not be fun as it would just create massive waves that aren't so relevant unless you're using the wave for only that purpose..."hey how's everyone today" "fine" "dandy" "everything's good" "I have a cold"...wave does not seem like the place for it, at least not in documents that you want to put to use eventually. A good way to get around this would be to have a way to collapse irrelevant messages or highlight important bits of conversation. Generally, it would also be nice to have a way to collapse all subtopics.

Subtopics are one of the biggest things in google wave, for more information on them see this bit on inline editing:

Google Wave as a CMS?

Google wave has the potential to be embedded into a webpage, for easy updating and easy commenting. I do not really think it will replace a traditional blog structure though. It could be used more like a twitter page, or a photo gallery page, since I'm guessing you'd only be able to access the information in one spot (like a blog page without being able to click on individual posts), and, depending upon the user permissions, it could be also be a bit too collaborative to serve as a way to maintain content. I think that, most likely, waves would be replacing discussion boards and wikis (which are two things I don't participate in that often so are more difficult for me to compare to).

Google Wave For Personal Note Taking

I use Evernote constantly, especially for my school notes, and random other tidbits. Normally my writing work-flow involves taking lots of notes in Evernote, building those note into sentences in the same document, and then piecing together into a more coherent whole in google docs. Basically, 90% of everything I do is done in browser or in Evernote. To be honest I don't have too many problems with it, but I also think google wave has potential to be a more dynamic note taker. I especially like the idea of non inline editing, since it could be a helpful way of expanding my outlines. After playing with wave I do not think you can really use it in the same manner as Evernote though. So far it seems much less accessible in terms of searching notes, and harder to take fast notes (I normally use Evernote like word pad, with a standalone note without the whole app up so I can have my browser and my note side by side).

Man and Tools

A large part of what makes humans unique is our aptitude for interacting with tools. There are an abundance of blogs out there dedicated to new gadgets we can play with. Each one involves us adapting ourselves differently in order to accomplish new tasks or old tasks more efficiently. As my first blog post dedicated to new media (and, a sort of, new gadget) I ask you to take a look back at our ancestors, the stick wielding monkeys.

Our desires to play in new interfaces and explore new technologies is a little bit strange. I'm completely guilty of doing it even when I have no idea how it will ever serve me (I feel like this a little bit with google wave right now), but it is kinda fun. It could also be one of the thing that helps us to adapt to new media. Since things started changing rapidly around the industrial revolution we have gotten used to the excitement of new things, and though sometimes we may not know exactly what they amount to we seem to enjoy dreaming of the possibilities and learning to adapt ourselves.

Additional Topics To Explore Pertaining to Wave

History of e-mail (and maybe even snail mail)

Different methods for different content/content structure (for what do we use e-mail, wave, facebook, etc)

I found these posts / pages helpful in answering my specific questions

No comments: