Google Nov. 27 posted the results of an online survey in which it details what people like and don't like about Google Wave, the company's real-time messaging and collaboration platform. Likes include the Wave concept, collaboration traits and gadgets. Dislikes the fact that not everyone you might want to engage in a "wave" with can, speed and lack of integration with e-mail. Web consultant Martin Seibert, high-tech pundit Robert Scoble and Gmail creator Paul Bucheit weigh in with what they like and dislike about the open-source platform.
Google Nov. 27 posted the results of an online survey in
which it details what people like and don't like about Google Wave, the company's
real-time messaging and collaboration platform.
People like the idea of a "wave" as a one-stop
communications and collaboration hub, allowing users to e-mail, instant
message, share files, and network. Users also like the gadgets and robots that
help make Wave more useful. BT's Ribbit Wave gadget brings voice communications
However, the clamor of complaints also rings loud. Chief among these
is that Wave is closed to the majority of people. Google began rolling out
to 100,000 people Sept. 30.
Sure, the users who were invited received eight invites,
but it takes days or weeks from passing along the invites to have friends,
family and colleagues join them on Wave. And without enough people to
communicate and collaborate with, Wave is limited. Google recognizes
"We understand it's hard to communicate and
collaborate if you have no contacts so we're working hard to make Google Wave
scale to a large number of users," wrote
Aaron Cheang, user experience researcher for Google Wave.
Cheang also found people want Google Wave to be more
integrated with e-mail. Specifically, they would like e-mail
alerts when they get a new wave. Wave chats can also get bogged down,
making speed another issue. Cheang claims relief is on the way:
"We're working hard to scale our systems so you can invite your friends
and colleagues to wave with you. We're also thinking about how to integrate with
existing communication and collaboration tools. And since we all know that fast
is better than slow, a large portion of the team is working to make Google Wave
Google Wave has had no shortage of supporters and
detractors since the company began rolling it out more broadly to users more
than two months ago. The Wave team even listened to early criticisms about Wave
being too public -- not everyone wants to follow every Wave -- and added
a follow feature to let users choose what Waves they see.
Martin Seibert, CEO of Internet consultancy Seibert/Media,
that while Wave is useful now for brainstorming ideas and concept creation
-- specifically as a multiuser note-taking platform for meetings and sessions --
it is too complex. Seibert even posted a video
on how confusing it can be for all but the most savvy Webheads.
Among the other deficiencies Seibert sees in Wave is that
missing revisions with rollbacks; no permanent hiding of replies; no
notifications for following Waves (see user criticism above); it's too slow for
a real chat (ditto on above knock); and unstable.
High-tech geek/blogger Robert Scoble, who wrote a now seminal post
on how Wave has been overhyped when it's so raw, responded to
Seibert's post with additional criticisms of Wave: no clear curation of Wave
input; and the lack of permalinks.
"We need permalinks for each few inches along the
infinite strip so that we can link you to a Wave and say "there's value
right here," Scoble wrote
. "Right now I can't do that, so I can't point you to specific places in the
Defrag conference Wave and say "check out xyz's notes here, they are most
Finally, Gmail creator Paul Bucheit, who left Google to
create FriendFeed and sold it to Google, weighed in over the weekend after
weathering criticism for claiming he had not tried Wave. He echoed
Scoble when he discussed Wave's confusing nature:
"Wave puts the conversation into little Gmail-like
boxes, but then makes them update in realtime. The result is that people end up
responding (in realtime) to things on other parts of the page, and the
chronological linkage and flow of the conversation is lost. I suspect it would
work better if each box behaved more like a little chat room. A single Wave
could contain multiple chats (different sub-topics), but each box would be
mostly self-contained and could be read in a linear fashion."
He also recommended that Google move Wave into Gmail,
giving it a huge userbase, and partially addressing the "e-mail is
Clearly, the Wave team has work to do before the broader roll out,
but Google must take care because, after all, part of that work, is
the broader roll out.