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Google Wave: I think you’ll need a good internet connection September 19, 2009

Posted by baruch in Uncategorized.
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Every Internet application works better with a good connection.

I don’t think you’ll have a good wave experience with a poor connection.

There’s quite a bit of to and fro of information for every little bit of every subsection of every wave. Just think – if you’re seeing the other person typing letter by letter, then that involves a little packet of information being sent over the net every letter.  But it’s not just between you and your server –  much of it is between the various servers related to a given wave; every change gets updated to all servers for all participants.

Demonstrations of Wave that I’ve seen have all been on high speed connections.

The bottom line of all that is slow connections will not enjoy wave much.  This will probably be more noticeable (and annoying for you) if you have a slow connection and everyone else on your wave has a fast one – they’ll get ahead of you in the conversation.

There’s another aspect beyond just connection speed, and that is the best new features work best when people are all online.  If you’re on dial-up and just connect a few times a day to check emails, don’t expect a hugely different experience out of wave from your current email experience.

Online fulltime and fast is what you will want for Wave.

Where I come from broadband is easily available, but I do quite a bit of non-work -related travel to parts of the world where flaky dial-up is still quite common.  I’d love to find out from someone in the know a comparison of how much end-user internet data flow is needed for say:

a) 10 short email messages

b) the same conversation taking place on IM

c) the same conversation taking place on Wave.

Or is there going to be a way on Wave to go for a ‘low bandwidth’ version, optimizing the experience for those with poorer connections?

  • less frequent refresh?
  • option to not download more than the thumbnail of an image?
  • etc
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A new career: Wavesmith September 18, 2009

Posted by baruch in Uncategorized.
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Wavesmith:

Someone with writing skills who joins a wave and who creates the outcome communique/summary/minutes/essay document in real time as the conversation continues.  The ability to review and approve the final production documents will increase conversation effectiveness.

Not just for groups, an individual may hire a wavesmith to create an essay/article/letter from their jottings/ideas/paragraph topics.

The term wavesmith may broaden to include wave facilitation, where the wavesmith plays a role in reaching an outcome.

They will be hired by the minute – many of their tasks won’t take long to do.  Per minute rates will vary with role and specialised skills – a ratings system will be needed.  Larger groups may employ their own wavesmiths, but most people will hire them on demand per-job from agency pools.  If during the course of a conversation a wavesmith is found not to be keeping up, or not displaying the level of skill needed, click ‘upgrade’ to bring in a higher-grade wavesmith.

Wanting ambitious, big & meaningful collaborative applications September 17, 2009

Posted by baruch in Uncategorized.
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That’s what Google are looking for.  see this video. (from 5 minutes) from the Google Wave Hackathon.

It seems up till then, at least, the contributions they had received had not been all that ambitious.

So, it’s worthwhile to ponder – what could this platform be used for, if thinking ambitiously, big&meaningfully?

It’s always tricky to start thinking about something from a completely fresh perspective, when we’re so used to what we use and how we use it at the moment. But it’s that sort of thinking they’re hoping for, thinking that will result in uses that will give people compelling reasons to adjust to something new.

(More to come)

Keeping the inbox calm and useful September 17, 2009

Posted by baruch in Uncategorized.
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This line comes from Lars in a video of the Google Wave Hackathon. (4:32) It was something they identified as an issue with the first batch of users, so what will it be like when everyone is on the Wave?

The scenario for those who currently receive lots of emails and other messages a day, and who like to respond as soon as something new comes into their inbox: imagine how many alert sounds you’ll hear in a day, an hour, or even a minute, if every response by every participant in every conversation, every document you participate in, etc etc returns to your inbox and dings to attract your attention.

From those who have tried out Wave already,  the incessant arrival of new things is something that will need to be sorted out.  For those who currently try to react to everything, it will take new forms of work flow/ prioritization skills, to avoid getting swamped.  Even those who have effective skills at managing email currently may find they have to change things to adjust to the new world.

Google Wave: Notes September 17, 2009

Posted by baruch in Uncategorized.
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100,000 new users starting Sept 30 on an ambitious new communications platform.

I’m not currently amongst them, so like most I’m having to rely on what’s been demoed about this new thing – but I can’t help trying to imagine what things might be like if the Wave takes off.

Here are some things I want to work through over the next little while:

  • People who were in early enough  got some really good web addresses, email names – what will be up for grabs for the early adopters of Wave if it is to become the dominant form of Internet communication?
  • Lots of articles about Google Wave are really just summaries of the demo at IO 2009.  Not thought through, no imagination – eg the examples given in the article is just the same as the example in the demo.  What about trying to think beyond what has already been demonstrated?
  • Similarly, essentially only one Wave program was demonstrated.  Lots of comments are all about that one program, which is fair enough, but the protocol, the platform is a far wider concept, and there doesn’t seem to be as much debate about that.  I suppose it’s always tricky – try to talk about a new concept, and people want examples.  Give people examples, and they talk about the examples, not the concept.
  • If it works, it affects not just email and IM, but also how you view your phone, your computer, your hard drive, your primary means of contact, your wordprocessor, personal information… how you can be marketed to?, your identity?
  • Program, platform, protocol. At each level there’s things that could be done.
  • How will Grannie, just managing on Outlook, best come to use Wave? How can we convince her to take on this new thing?
  • Using Wave you communicate differently
  • Many of the extensions were linking Wave to existing forms of internet communication.  But this is really not the point – if the purpose in Wave is to be better, and thus render those other forms effectively obsolete.
  • It could become
  • At the next video – Lars on video link says to budding developers ‘please think big’, think ambitious, big and meaningful  about how to use this program, platform, protocol.
  • Since it’s Wave the protocol, not just Wave the program, I’d hope there would be a variety of different front-ends – Wave for kids, Wave for visual impairment.  The protocol should look and feel quite different for different people.   It will important to not just get fixated on the Google Wave, which will have to be built to try and display as many of the new features of the protocol as possible – and thus turn some people away from it – “Is it just me or does this seem like a bit of overkill? Twitter is so simple and fast to use, whereas Google Wave, although feature-rich looks like you have to have a degree in Rocket Science to use effectively” (comment from this article).  There would be quite some advantage in being the first and best one out with a really simple interface, same protocol in behind.
  • People will take some time to move away from the current way of thinking about programs, and communication.  There could be some advantage in coming up with something that still looks like an older type of software, but that does some really neat things because its just a cunningly disguised Wave.  How about a word-processor with the best spelling and grammar checking you’ve ever seen and the ability to translate on the fly? – I know people that would love to use that even without the communication aspect.
  • I’ve yet to hear much about what happens if servers are down?  Despite safety, if Wave takes off, there could still well be a market for a Wave backup service.
  • Collaborative editing of documents: I’ve tried it a few times on Google Docs with people not really used to it, and they really struggled.  Once everyone is on Wave, there’ll need to be more widespread help getting people used to collaborative editing.
  • A new career: wavesmith.  Someone with writing skills who joins a wave and who creates the outcome communique/summary/minutes/essay document in real time as the conversation continues.  Not just for groups, an individual may hire a wavesmith to create an essay/article/letter from their jottings/ideas/paragraph topics.  The ability to review and approve the final production document will increase effectiveness.  The term wavesmith may broaden to include wave facilitation.  They will be hired by the minute – many of their tasks won’t take long to do.  Per minute rates will vary with role and specialised skills – a ratings system will be needed.  Larger groups may employ their own wavesmiths, but most people will hire them per-job from pools run from agencies.  If during the course of a conversation a wavesmith is found not to be keeping up, or not displaying the level of skill needed, click ‘upgrade’ to bring in a more skilled wavesmith.
  • Intrusiveness: Wave can update letter by letter – and some people are going to hate that.  With its real time updates, the conversation is more intense, potentially more intrusive – other people are seeing your thoughts as you type, as it were seeing what you’re doing right now, seeing how fast you are typing.  In ideal communication situations that’s great, but may not be welcome in all communication – more pressure, more demanding etc.  “…I’m working on that right now…  Are you?…”  Of course, it’s not really a problem – you can turn off the letter by letter mode, but almost just the knowledge that it is there…
  • Going to have to rethink workflow management.  The end outcome may well be an improvement, but the transition could well be a bit chaotic.

Compilation of comments :  with my [] comments

From CNET article 31 July 2009

  • Commenter: It looks like technology with now (sic)  purpose. I can look at Microsoft Outlook and say it has purpose: I manage and receive email, manage my calendar and contacts, create shared calendars, invite fellow workers to meetings all in one program.But Wave just looks like Twitter and Facebook with some quasi mode interface gone insane.

[all-purpose = no purpose?; hard to free the mind of the way you’ve come to do things: eg ‘I manage email’ is described as a purpose, rather than ‘I send and receive documents’ – the more general purpose]

From CNET’s Debating the Power of Google Wave, 4 June 2009

Wave sounds confusing

Needleman: It is at first, but I found that I acclimated to its concepts pretty quickly. What I really appreciate about Wave is how easy it is to move between different modes. You can start a message like an e-mail, and then see it become a chat or IM conversation, and then go into collaboratively editing a document. I know it sounds horribly confusing but I found that it didn’t take long to adapt to it.

[the joy of new technology trying to be described in older technology terms]

Shankland: I acclimated rapidly, too, but I can see how the multi-edit chaos could be distracting even if you know what’s going on. If you’re the kind of person who can talk on the phone, send a text message, IM, and surf the Web at the same time, you’ll be fine with Wave, but most of us have only so much attention span to go around, and Wave has the potential to overtax.

[attention overtaxing is a recurrent theme amongst trial users of Wave]

Needleman: It also brings together different communication styles–e-mail, IM, chat, collaborative editing–into one app. I think that’s great, but I’m not sure how well this idea will scale or what will happen as a broader user base starts to adopt it.

by mdeicaza June 4, 2009 9:19 AM PDT
The debate around Wave seems to be focused on the UI that was built with the foundation, but little attention has been paid to the actual engine that powers Wave, and that is where I think the real power of Wave is.

With Wave, developers can create collaborative applications *from the start*, not as an add-on, not as an after-thought, and it is what they get by default.

Collaborative applications is what made Google Docs so great. Now every app on the web can leverage a similar technology.

The UI is also not limited to be HTML-based. You can use the Wave infrastructure to to integrate it into your desktop or RIA applications just as well. The protocol would allow OpenOffice for example to become a full client to Wave, or the GIMP (Linux’s PhotoShop) or any other proprietary application that wishes to connect to the Wave set of protocols.

From another article

Google envisions three types of developer projects using Wave. The first is the most obvious; using Wave as a gateway for conversations that you’re already having elsewhere on Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook, blogs, and other social media sites.

[This is inevitable – trying to link Wave back to existing technologies.  Important at the beginning, but as Wave takes off, becoming less relevant, as those conversations more and more take place on Wave itself]

The second category involves creating applications that run within a wave, similar to how developers have used Facebook as a platform to create all sorts of applications. Collaborative games are expected to be among the first applications to appear within Google Wave.

[]

Lastly, Google wants developers to think of Wave as a possible enhancement to an existing workflow within an enterprise. The example Rasmussen used was a bug tracker used by software developers to identify and assign bugs. Bugs could be organized in waves; participants post the new bug to a global wave, then the team leader can assign bugs to individual team members within the wave, and developers can comment on their fix for a particular bug as they are tackled and cleared, all within the same thread.