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Google Wave Reviewed 365

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-the-skinny dept.
Michael_Curator writes "Developers are finally getting their hands on the developer preview of Google's Wave, which means we can finally get some first-hand accounts of what it's really like to use, unfiltered by Google's own programmers. Ben Rometsch, a developer with U.K. Web development firm Solid State, blogged that, it's 'probably the most advanced application in a browser that I've seen.' Wave is like giant Web page onto which users can drag and drop any kind of object, including instant messaging and IRC [Internet Relay Client] clients, e-mail, and wikis, as well as gadgets like maps and video. All conversations, work product and applications are stored on remote servers — presumably forever. 'It's like real time email. On crack,' he wrote. And unlike the typically minimalist Google UI, 'It feels a lot more like a desktop application that just so happens to live in your browser.'" User molex333 has already written a Slashdot app and shares his initial reactions here.
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Google Wave Reviewed

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  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @07:52PM (#28790167)

    Does the expression "on crack" mean, "better"? And if so, why?

    I always interpreted that phrase to mean "way more hyper and totally unpredictable". So in my mind, anyway, that's a "no".

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @08:01PM (#28790233)

    Normally it means "bad" or "messed up", but I think in this case it's more "hyperactive". The author seems to be stating "if your email program could get high on cocaine, it would be like Google Wave."

  • Tried it (Score:5, Informative)

    by agendi (684385) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @08:08PM (#28790275)
    I've participated in a wavelet writing hack-a-thon and was impressed by the scope of the collaboration that it provides. I saw it as an email, shared docs, blogs, instant messaging, photo sharing in one protocol. It certainly wasn't perfect and some parts were rather underwhelming but overall it seemed like the beginning of a new way of doing things. I was talking with one of the devs in the Sydney office and he said that they use it internally and are surprised by the way that the more they used it the more they discovered new ways to use it. I took that as a good sign that it was a technology/protocol that was at the beginning of the discovery rather than one that is released with every usage known. Would I use it commercially - not yet, but I can imagine it becoming a core tool to organising/interacting my social circle. I could easily see it being a great tool for collaborative programming and/or a new generation of remote role playing (build a dice rolling tool, a mapping tool etc.)
  • by omeomi (675045) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @08:16PM (#28790327) Homepage
    It's a fairly common American expression, or at least it was. Generally anything on crack is something supercharged. Bigger, faster, better. I have no idea where the saying originated from. It's best not to think about it, I guess.
  • Re:Ads (Score:2, Informative)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @08:33PM (#28790419)

    That's like saying will HTTP, FTP or SMTP have ads. It's fundamentally a communications protocol with some example apps built on. It can be used for ads just as it can be used for many other things. No doubt some people will use it for ads.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @08:39PM (#28790463)
    No if you have A.D.D and are on crack, you focus better.
  • by Sporkinum (655143) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @08:57PM (#28790555)

    I had never heard about g.ho.st before your post. It's interesting technology, but looks like it has a ways to go. Less than 10k views of their demo video on youtube. Also, it ran pretty slow in my browser (firefox 3.5). On a good note, since it is a web page, adblock+ works.

  • Video (Score:5, Informative)

    by Twinbee (767046) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:29PM (#28790781) Homepage

    And here's the obligatory hour long video to show the potential of the thing:
    http://wave.google.com/ [google.com]

    Some new and interesting concepts if you have the time to spare.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:29PM (#28790785)
    It moves quite a bit when thrown.
  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Informative)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:33PM (#28790811) Homepage Journal

    Are you kidding? Again, Google has cobbled together existing technology and instead of learning the lesson that SMTP taught US 25 years ago Google is content to have something else that will live in beta for years. Why create new technology when you can duct tape existing things together?

    If something taught us SMTP is that is not panacea, there is a big hole in that specification and is called "real time" (well, if you want, add spam to the mix). Wave goes directly to the heart of it, having communication between one or several people (like smtp), but in real time, adding authentication, easy to use and powerful web interface, multimedia and more things that will be disclosed/developed in time. And takes on instant messaging/xmpp if you want too, adding things that are more from smtp realm.

    Could had done it mixing and matching existing protocols? Maybe yes, maybe not. And maybe those alternatives dont have the flexibility needed for wild evolution that this could have.

    While I'm teetering on the brink of ranting, so Google is releasing an OS, while they continue to overload the web browser with javascript and flash in an effort to turn it into an operating system. Again, we've already done this. We have these tools already. It's called a Native Application. Write some C for christ sake, or hell, even a Java SE app. Maybe some QT/OpenGL? Writing all these applications for the browser is putting a square peg in a round hole.

    Considering how safe proved to be the most used operating system around, taking most of the responsibility into something that they could control and fix is not a very bad move. Native Applications could be faster (faster than all the push google and others had done to have a very fast javascript engines, but not for so much now), but could pass easily the ball to the underlying operating system, and of course, not be future proof (future as in other architectures at the very least, both because be totally new or gains more popularity alternative ones).

    And maybe you could be right... for local, very cpu intensive applications. But for writting internet applications building them over existing internet clients (i.e. browser, you have there all the portability, all the security, etc) looks reasonable.

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:38PM (#28790867)

    There's this popular misconception that Google Wave is some sort of service, when in fact it's a protocol built on XMPP [wikipedia.org]. Google's offering of the service is of course a major part of this, but the essential character of the thing is a protocol and messaging semantic.

  • by rhyder128k (1051042) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:41PM (#28790883) Homepage

    I wasn't really seeing her, it was more of an one-nighter.

    Maybe the guy is a crack addict and he means that it's really really great program that he'd happily steal and lie to get some more of.

  • by omeomi (675045) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @10:29PM (#28791201) Homepage
    Now that you mention it, it probably comes out of the fervor in the 80's over crack. Back then, the story was that it made people into these super-crazy super-strong unstoppable criminals. You could shoot a crack-head in the face 5 times back then, and they'd still lift up your police car and throw it across the street. From what I've heard, the punishment for crack possession is still far worse than it is for cocaine possession. And yes, I get my drug insight from NPR, so yes, I am a nerd.
  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:10PM (#28791419)
    The demo video at http://wave.google.com/ [google.com] actually shows a command-line client, around the hour mark.
  • by extraqwert (983362) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:35PM (#28791563)
    It is because Microsoft Windows is so broken, one would want to run everything inside Firefox. This is the reverse of a "sandbox". The word "sandbox" usually means that whatever you run inside the web browser is potentially harmful and should not be allowed to affect the operating system. But we want the opposite. I think we want to isolate ourself from the sickness of our operating system, and do everything in Firefox.
  • Re:Browser OS? (Score:3, Informative)

    by sodul (833177) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:24AM (#28791853) Homepage

    you can not really do much with JavaScript (e.g. write a multimedia player)

    HTML 5 is pushing the envelope enough to do most of what you need Flash and Silverlight for.

    Take a look at the webkit blog to get an idea of all the things possible in HTML 5 and CSS 3.0, now:
      - CSS masks: http://webkit.org/blog/181/css-masks/ [webkit.org]
      - CSS reflections: http://webkit.org/blog/182/css-reflections/ [webkit.org]
      - CSS animations: http://webkit.org/blog/324/css-animation-2/ [webkit.org]
      - CSS 3D animations: http://webkit.org/blog/386/3d-transforms/ [webkit.org]
      - video tag, already in use by dailymotion: http://openvideo.dailymotion.com/ [dailymotion.com]

    I use the nightly builds of WebKit and it's been an excellent browser for me for the past few years.

    So actually a multimedia player will be pretty easy to implement, child play compared to a native application doing the same thing on Linux.
    Sure it won't help much to watch a DVD, but netbooks don't have dvd players anyhow. The trend is to all of your data online. Even Netflix is moving toward streaming rather than physical media, once DRM dies with the MPAA I'm sure they'll adopt HTML 5 instead of Silverlight.

  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Informative)

    by rossifer (581396) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:57AM (#28792063) Journal

    First of all, it's very difficult for corporations to not be sociopathic, but in my experience, Google management does try to avoid most of the pathological problems of modern corporations. "Don't be evil" has been getting pretty rough treatment in the press, but from my inside perspective, the whole company perks up and pays very close attention if it looks like the company might be reneging on that statement. Upper management keeps on trying to be transparent, which also helps a lot.

    In this case, the behavior is a rational response to an aggressive competitor known for doing underhanded things to eliminate competition. I don't mean to make excuses, as Google's behavior is not defensive in nature, but in the (sometimes, occasionally) free market, competition is rough business and Google is willing to step up, even if our culture does put some big ethical boundaries around what we will do. Microsoft has been famously big on much shadier tactics. Starting acquisition talks with competitors to get strategic information, then screwing them over. Google won't do that.

    The value of Google's behavior is a situation where the consumer spends less and less for more capabilities until they only have to pay for the marginal value of the hardware to do just about anything a computer can do.

    Next sub-question: who's at risk? Without needing to ask anyone inside Google, any organization who can throttle or put a toll on Google's services is at risk. Speculatively, telecommunications companies, mobile carriers, governments, etc. are all vulnerable to various tactics intended to minimize the chance that they'll be able to cash in on or otherwise interfere with how Google makes money.

  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@@@gmail...com> on Thursday July 23, 2009 @01:01AM (#28792081)

    That's "on steroids". "On crack" means totally fucked up.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @01:44AM (#28792317) Journal

    ...then you know all these things about sharepoint how?

    He doesn't, actually. Among other things, SharePoint wikis do not (and cannot) consist of Word documents. It's just your usual wiki, pretty simplistic in fact (nowhere near MediaWiki) in SP2007. Word documents live in SP document libraries. Wiki can reference them, of course, but there are no cross-referencing Word docs there.

    (I do work for Microsoft)

  • Re:Mod me paranoid (Score:5, Informative)

    by stephanruby (542433) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @01:57AM (#28792369)

    This is missing the point of Wave. It's not patented. It's open sourced. It's federated (with no central authority). There is nothing preventing a company, or an individual, from setting up their own wave server (either the one given away for free by Google, or another one developed by a third party), and not sharing one piece of data with Google.

    That's what makes the proposition so compelling. Google is not trying to lock in your data. It's doing everything it can to do the opposite actually.

  • by aj50 (789101) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:56AM (#28792655)

    It is explained reasonably well in the summary.

    If you want to know more, I suggest watching the video on http://wave.google.com/ [google.com]

  • Re:Mod me paranoid (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:57AM (#28792659)

    Simple - you'll be able to run Wave on your own server. It can communicate with other servers through federation, but if you're paranoid enough you could disable that.

  • by stephanruby (542433) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @03:11AM (#28792723)

    Have you ever tried editing a document through back and forth emails? If so, that should cut down on that. It will never completely replace email, but it should help reduce the number of messages, and/or the number of threads you have in your inbox.

    A wiki, or a google doc, could do that too, but not in real-time. And also, using a separate wiki, or a separate google doc, forces you to change context, so in a way -- it pulls those different ways of communicating into workspace/work flow -- so you're not forced to switch context every time you change content type (which can make you waste a lot of time).

  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Informative)

    by styrotech (136124) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @03:51AM (#28792935)

    While I'm teetering on the brink of ranting, so Google is releasing an OS, while they continue to overload the web browser with javascript and flash in an effort to turn it into an operating system. Again, we've already done this. We have these tools already. It's called a Native Application. Write some C for christ sake, or hell, even a Java SE app. Maybe some QT/OpenGL? Writing all these applications for the browser is putting a square peg in a round hole.

    Nothing about Wave prevents that.

    Wave is a bunch of things: a server app that handles the live syncing stuff, a Google web interface built with GWT, a bunch of APIs and libraries for extensions, and an open network protocol based on XMPP (ie jabber). The protocols and APIs aren't tied to the current implementations.

    People will be able to use the protocols, libraries and APIs to build their own clients and servers. One of the Google videos showed a curses based client running in a terminal - no web browser or javascript in sight.

    If this stuff takes off, you can bet people will be writing native clients.

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:19PM (#28797353)
    Waves are persistent like emails, so the people working on it don't have to work on it at the same time, and the infrastructure records all of the actions that bring a wave to it's current state, so someone looking at it a few days later can hit a " playback" button (literally) and see every change every person made. Granted, you can do this now with Word to an extent, but not over the network using an open standard, and not in a way that is deeply integrated into your messaging system, with one server and some editors in a different server in federation with the first one.

    That's the really NEW aspect of the thing. Its web interface is a lot like a live-updating Slashdot thread, but the magic is that wave essentially defines a protocol for multiple servers at different organizations collectively mutating and publishing such an object, in such a way that all the users, regardless of where they are, can see the changes a they happen. It's sortof like netnews, if nntp allowed live-editing of threads, and had rich text and media support, and saved every change ever made to any message.

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