Underwhelming experiences with Google Wave

Took some time today to work with the new communication meme – Google Wave. I wouldn’t call it a fundamentally new way to communicate – well, not yet. I think Google is safe to continue with a “preview” label – clearly not even “beta” yet. No horrible bugs – at least on the Windows platform – but some obviously missing features. And, I am not all that impressed with the basic idea – it’s just a mashup of Google Docs, instant messenger, and eMail.


All of my experimentation has been from a Windows machine – I am experiencing horrible performance issues with Firefox 3.5.3 on Ubuntu 9.04. I freely admit that this might not be a Wave issue – for the last two weeks, all of my Google sites (Mail, Docs, iGoogle, Reader …) run brutally slow, timing out by graying the browser window. I know it’s a weird issue because I can’t Google for an answer (a disturbingly tight loop). Wave refused to even show me the stills from the introductory videos until I disabled Greasemonkey. Yes, I’m sure it has something to do with my setup, my installed plugins – I’m just surprised that the problems have been this stubborn.

So, to get anything done, it’s back to Windows – still using Firefox, but no hint of platform troubles. Just an underwhelming experience with the fancy new toy.

I Am Legend

Interconnections on the internet are a wonderful thing; I put out a Tweet (sic) regarding my Wave invites, and a note in LinkedIn as well. Twitter generated the most responses, with folks I’d never met – great fun to connect like that. The following day, I got a note from someone looking to connect via Wave – I’m guessing from the information that I can see, this person saw one of my original notes via Friendfeed. Amazing how those copnnections were practically spontaneous …

… while Wave feels like I’m in a walled garden. I still feel very cut off in the Wave world – a different domain from gmail.com means a new address to track, a new contact list to build. And it’s difficult to find connections with folks you already know; I received another Wave invite from a friend, but since I didn’t need it, I tried to figure out how to connect to him via Wave (I thought it a reasonable assumption that he, like me, has dived in). Unfortunately, I had to resort to an email message and some detective work to find out his Google ID – not something I could explain to most business users.

Yet Another Email Client

Yes, I am still at that opinion. Most of the opinions and articles I’ve scanned make it sound like we are working with a next-gen email client that does some of the basics right. I do note that the amplifiers tend to gush a bit, while the attenuators work hard to impress with wit.

Generally Pro

Generally Con

Maybe It’s Just Me

One of my random invites went to this guy, who’s review was a bit more positive than mind. Ok, maybe I’ll jump into the with:public pool and wade around a while – it’s probably the only way I’ll really get it. However, I am very willing to be patient and continue the experiment – took me about 3 months to get Twitter.

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James MacLennan

... is the Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, a digital consultancy focused on creating value in ways that align with your strategy and drive engagement with employees, customers, and stakeholders. He is an active creator, providing thought leadership through on-line & print publications, and public speaking / keynotes.