It took me a little while to receive my invitation to Google Wave and to play around with the platform. For the past few weeks, friends have asked me to discuss my thoughts on Google Wave and if I like it or not. In the beginning, it was difficult to respond, because I just didn’t feel I had enough time to explore to properly make an assessment.
I feel more comfortable now answering those questions and giving my opinion, after starting several waves, and even working on a project in a wave. So, to answer the question: I like Google Wave and I see tremendous potential for collaboration, relationship building, streamlining project work internally within an organization (employees working in groups) and also using waves for my client’s and/or my own company events.
With any “new” technology there are the pros and cons. Of course, you need to keep in mind that my opinion is only based on a few weeks of experience, so if you have been on Google Wave longer or have discovered anything that you feel is a definite pro or con, I hope that you will share your knowledge with us.
- It’s easy to get started in Google Wave and simple to import and manage contacts.
- Once you create a wave, you can invite your contacts to be a part of the conversation immediately.
- When you are in a wave, you have the ability to upload images, documents, etc. You can also drag and drop files and images into your wave.
- I like the yes/no/maybe gadget you can embed in a wave that allows you to gauge interest on a topic. The users in the wave can select yes/no/maybe to let you know how they feel about a particular area of interest or if they can attend an event.
- You can imbed a map gadget in your wave to collaborate with placemarks, paths and shapes to mark location for wave participants. The tool is good for planning trips and events.
- There’s a Google Wave add on to Firefox that let’s you know via email when you’re wave is updated.
- Google Wave really cuts back on unnecessary email that tends to clutter your inbox (especially the emails that talk about what you have to do but nothing seems to get done). In a wave, you can collaborate with your team to get the task done quickly, whether it’s drafting an agenda for a meeting or collaboratively writing a report that’s due. You can also use a wave to assemble important information that should be shared with colleagues post event, meeting or conference.
- Waves are great to brainstorm with your peers. I recently used a wave to discuss/brainstorm the criteria for judging an award program and it was easy to follow the conversation.
The Cons (I included a few comments from my friends):
- A wave can get messy if you are not highlighting important information or using the playback feature.
- It takes a little while to play around and to figure out what features are the most helpful in your daily routine.
- I’ve heard many of my peers say, “There aren’t enough people on Google Wave so what’s the point of being there and starting conversations, if it’s not a popular platform (of course, in time I believe this will change).
- Google Wave may not be an intuitive experience at first. I’ve had friends tell me that they stare at the screen and don’t know what to do or how to get started. My advice is that it’s worth taking the time to review the help videos and tutorials to learn about how to use the many different features on the platform.
Other interesting features I still want to explore are robots (to interface with other systems) for example, Tweety, and how to embed your wave in a blog, which is a cool function that allows you as to update your wave and that same update appears on your blog simultaneously.
I’m excited about Google Wave and as it opens up to more people, I think we are going to hear a lot more about it and the feedback will be positive! What do you think?