Like any geek worth his salt, I’ve been waiting for my invitation to preview Google Wave to come through. I’ve only been playing with it for a bit, but so far my first impression has been, “So this is what all the hype has been about??” Maybe it will grow on my, but it hasn’t knocked my socks off.
I won’t repeat all of the other blog posts or embed any of the multitude of YouTube videos that demonstrate its capabilities. However, here are some of my other observations.
Google has touted Wave as being email on steroids. While that may be true, Wave only works if everyone is on the same system. Unless you’ve got a Wave account, you can’t play. Therefore, comparisons to email aren’t really valid.
Google Wave has been hailed as a breakthrough collaboration tool. Really? While real-time typing is cool, you could get that with any chat application. Google already offers collaboration tools through Google Docs, so some of this seems redundant. Existing resources such as the many wiki systems already available do a much, much better job that what I’ve seen on Wave.
Accomplishing anything on Wave is actually more difficult than than using a wiki system. First, there is no easy way to embed images. You just can’t do it, and this is a HUGE flaw. You can upload images, but you can’t easily link to those already online, such as Flickr images. You can embed YouTube videos, but that’s it. There’s no way to include videos from other resources such as Vimeo, or even Google Video. Part of the problem is that you can’t use HTML directly, so the embed codes for these services don’t work.
You can add extensions to Google Wave, but these, too, are a pain. The only ones readily available are a few featured by Google. If you want to reuse an extension that’s not sanctioned by Google, you have to install it upon each use via URL. Talk about tedious!
I know that Wave will improve, and that there is lots of potential, but for now I think I’ll stick with my other, easier to use collaboration tools.