29 May 2010

Google Wave: One Year Later


It is been a year after the first version of Google Wave was shown to some Google enthusiastic web developers and the press. How things have changed since then with Google Wave as a viable consumer offering?.

Not much, actually.

Google Wave continues to be a offering only suited to power users, the tech press and web developers. To the point where Google accepted that so by purchasing Etherpad; A more user friendly version of the same concept Google Wave is gunning for.

What has changed?

While Wave biggest achievement in the past year was to gain the stability and performance needed for it to be offered as a freely available Google App, lots of things changed around it as Google has adjusted many of their web strategies, and even released what could be seen as a competing (even if not fully) offering now known as Google Buzz.

Then there is Google Chrome, now at version 5 that got it plugin story changed radically as Google has downplayed and retired both Google Gears and O3D in favor of HTML5 and WebGL.

Google also decided to do a big strategic partnership with Adobe on all fronts and they decided that Flash will be bundled with the chrome browser, android and chrome os. Finally, on the NaCl front, things have been going slower than they planned and there is not really anything done Google had shown that end users can care to check for themselves at this point.

Those changes (Etherpad, Buzz, Chrome) have put the push for Google Wave to the sidelines. I expect that Google will start pushing for it again once the first full version of Chrome OS gets released to the public later this year. Also because until now i don’t see that what Google expected to get from Etherpad had been integrated into Google Wave. But being optimistic about it, we should do see it in the coming months.

Should it be retried now?.

Yes if you plan to use it for Liveblogging, Group Researching, Group Studying, Project Meetings or even as a new take on Online Chatting and Instant Messaging. Just remember about the logging, the replaying and the impulsiveness of it since what you say appears as fast as your think it and write it in. 

The reason being its fully real-time wild nature that lets you have several people interacting into a communication stream overlapping into each other. Something that works well for a conscious transmission of text and media that don’t needs to be 100% fully coherent or clear. Just something that can follow a certain timeline, theme or idea.

No if you want to use it as a social hangout, network, community,forum, document collaboration,

The reason being that it is too messy for it. And if you got more than 10 people in a stream everything in it will end up in a bunch of senseless noise or something that would need to be edited several times over for it to gain a sense of order. Also because Google actually does offers you two other choices for things like that in the form of Buzz and Docs. That should be a clue that it only fits well for some specific scenarios and that while you can force it into others, it don’t means  you should or that it will workout well if you do.

But if you are still keen on force it to do your bidding, you can check out what Novell among others are doing with the code of Google Wave.


I do not want jump into any final ones yet. I think that Google Wave still got lots of evolving to do in order for it to fulfill its potential. The problem is that not all the tech it needs is there yet and that it still lacks a huge lot of user controls, better settings and even better performance, stability and browser compatibility (Since it continues to be a good experience ONLY in Webkit based browsers) to really be able to judge it properly once and for all.But i will be doing just once a full year of  my first post on it passes.

While that time mark would indicate Google Wave will have almost a year and half in the spotlight since its dev introduction. Given how Google develops things internally from ideas to alpha in around 6 months. That would mean it will have  at least 2 years of continuous development by then. More than enough time to get some strong conclusions and even some final perceptions for the future of it on Google hands.

But in the meantime check it out for yourself now that is open for everyone. The only requirement is of course a Google Account.


Google Wave


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