[LINK] Google Waves Goodbye

Ivan Trundle ivan at itrundle.com
Thu Aug 5 10:33:14 AEST 2010

On 05/08/2010, at 8:45 AM, Roger Clarke wrote:

> [Okay, make that 'Google Wave's Goodbye'.  Isn't English wonderful?]
> [Feel vindicated, Tom?]

I do, even if Tom doesn't. 

Wave was an answer to a question that few asked, and it went down the typical path that collaborative meeting apps go down: throwing in as many options as considered useful to the point of being unfathomable to most.

It's one thing to talk about 'dramatically improving ... lives' and being enthusiastic about the potential of such things, but the telling statement is: 'we weren't quite sure how users would respond to this  radically different kind of communication'. Some marketing strategy.

Actually, it wasn't *radically* different: I've been developing software (iMEET!) that does something like this for a number of years now. What made Wave less attractive was that most people don't have the capacity to work out how to use it to any advantage. Combining communication channels is an interesting idea, but few have the patience and focus to make it work well. I have academic friends who loved it, but devoted a lot of time in understanding how it worked. On the other hand, tools like iMEET! require no training.

Likewise, some Wave innovations, such as live typing, are NOT what many people want - in my experience, they want quite the opposite (the ability to compose a communication BEFORE sending it is more useful than trying to emulate talking). Drag-and-drop has some interesting side-effects, too - in that inexperienced users become confused when they make a wrong or accidental move. In a collaborative space, drag-and-drop is akin to pulling rugs from under the feet of people: spatial references are lost very quickly.

Nonetheless, people do eventually become accustomed to new interfaces and new functions, but if those new functions are not part of the day-to-day toolkit of the average computer user, they are far too esoteric to be of any use without considerable training.


> Update on Google Wave
> 8/04/2010 02:00:00 PM
> http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/update-on-google-wave.html
> We have always pursued innovative projects because we want to drive 
> breakthroughs in computer science that dramatically improve our 
> users' lives. Last year at Google I/O, when we launched our developer 
> preview of Google Wave, a web app for real time communication and 
> collaboration, it set a high bar for what was possible in a web 
> browser. We showed character-by-character live typing, and the 
> ability to drag-and-drop files from the desktop, even "playback" the 
> history of changes-all within a browser. Developers in the audience 
> stood and cheered. Some even waved their laptops.
> We were equally jazzed about Google Wave internally, even though we 
> weren't quite sure how users would respond to this radically 
> different kind of communication. The use cases we've seen show the 
> power of this technology: sharing images and other media in real 
> time; improving spell-checking by understanding not just an 
> individual word, but also the context of each word; and enabling 
> third-party developers to build new tools like consumer gadgets for 
> travel, or robots to check code.
> But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen 
> the user adoption we would have liked. We don't plan to continue 
> developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the 
> site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology 
> for use in other Google projects. The central parts of the code, as 
> well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave's innovations, 
> like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are 
> already available as open source, so customers and partners can 
> continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools 
> so that users can easily "liberate" their content from Wave.
> Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways 
> in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are 
> excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create 
> innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider 
> web.
> Posted by Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Operations & Google Fellow
> -- 
> Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
> Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
>                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
> mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/
> Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
> Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University
> _______________________________________________
> Link mailing list
> Link at mailman.anu.edu.au
> http://mailman.anu.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/link

Ivan Trundle
http://itrundle.com ivan at itrundle.com
ph: +61 (0)418 244 259 fx: +61 (0)2 6286 8742 skype: callto://ivanovitchk

More information about the Link mailing list