Analysts Weigh In on Wave

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-08-12 Print this article Print

Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler told eWEEK:

"I do think that we need new collaborative vehicles, particularly ones that create zero-latency communication and authoring. IM and texting don't do it; wikis are fine as persistent repositories or co-authored content. But we're missing simultaneous editing, persistent conversations and a slew of other things."

Gartner analyst Ray Valdes said one scenario is that people gradually migrate to Wave, using the platform first for a specific task, such as e-mail, then gradually broadening their use of it to include blogs and wikis.

"People could adopt Wave and use it the same way that they use e-mail and blogs and wikis," Valdes told eWEEK. "So e-mail people will use Wave like e-mail, blog people will use Wave like blogs, and wiki people will use Wave like a wiki. Over time, they'll learn the full power of Wave."

Valdes, who wrote his first Wave robot in 30 minutes using 30 lines of Python code at Google's Hackathon last weekend, also believes Wave suffers from a complexity problem, just not in the same vein as Dash. Dash argued that the many moving parts of Wave, including XMPP and OpenSocial, make it a bear to use, unlike the easier RSS and AJAX Web technologies. Valdes said:

"I do think that Wave has a complexity problem, but it is not so much internal technical complexity as user interface complexity. In its current form, Wave fails the 'grandma test'-that is, can my grandma use it? I am speaking, of course, of online grandmas that are already using e-mail and IM and Facebook-which these days, there are very many that are. I think Google needs to simplify the Wave user experience if they want to achieve mass adoption."

However, while Valdes appreciates Wave for extending of the communication and collaboration potential of the Internet, he said Wave will not challenge IBM Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server for five to 10 years, if it ever does.

Reader Hendry finished with a flourish: "Will the public get behind it? Those who don't already have a neat way of working with Exchange and SharePoint integration probably will. And if people get behind it, then developers will be inclined to work out their issues because if the people want it then that's where you need to be to survive."

Still, Dash argued that in order for programmers to embark on such an upgrade as Wave, there needs to be some concrete value to a platform, even if the people on the other end haven't upgraded their software, Web browsers, clients or servers. "Otherwise you're shouting into an empty room," he wrote.


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