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Initial Reviews of Google Wave; Neat, But Noisy 336

Posted by timothy
from the here's-yer-firehose dept.
bonch writes "Reviews of Google Wave are out, and opinions are that it has potential as a development platform but is noisy to use for real-time communication. Robert Scoble calls it overhyped, claiming it's useful for little more than personal IM or small-scale project collaboration. He complains about the noisiness of tracking dozens of people chatting him at once in real-time and calls trying to use it a 'productivity killer' compared to simpler mediums like email and Twitter."
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Initial Reviews of Google Wave; Neat, but Noisy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:32PM (#29611281)

    ...now trat's really saying something

  • Try IRC. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:33PM (#29611307)

    Problem solved.

  • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:35PM (#29611321)

    After watching the demo, a lot of people were commenting that the major problem is that it runs counter to how the brain operates...we aren't designed to heavily multitask. Email provides a linear conversation at least. Still, it's interesting and I think that it does have uses. Perhaps the user feedback will cause it to evolve into something more manageable for a regular brain. I think the potential to assist with remote project collaboration is great.

    A lot will depending on how people use it, not what it is. There will need to be settings to help people set limits on the barrage of information.

  • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:42PM (#29611411)
    Is it as cool as having 6000 friends on myspace?
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:43PM (#29611421) Homepage Journal

    Yeah I work with an air traffic control system. The UI has to take a lot of complex information and present it to the user in the most pertinent way possible. It has to understand what is important (an aircraft which is off course for example) and give just enough emphasis to that object without taking too much of the users attention away from other tasks. It is a fine balance, particularly if you expect your UI to be used for hours at a time in a stressful environment.

  • by SoupGuru (723634) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:46PM (#29611453)
    This reminds me a lot of what people were saying a few years ago when they pondered whether they should get a cellphone.

    "But it's always with you! People will call at all times!"

    The obvious solution is to turn it off or don't answer it and people will get the idea and communicate on your terms. You have the control of how or when to respond.
  • by Zerth (26112) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:47PM (#29611467)

    Email provides a linear conversation at least.

    Clearly you interact with people who know that top-posting is evil and have no urge to reply to each email before reading the following responses that have been sitting in their inbox for 3 days.

    I envy you.

  • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PeterBrett (780946) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:47PM (#29611469) Homepage

    Robert Scoble calls it overhyped, claiming it's useful for little more than personal IM or small-scale project collaboration. He complains about the noisiness of tracking dozens of people chatting him at once in real-time and calls trying to use it a 'productivity killer' compared to simpler mediums like email and Twitter.

    I think he's missing the point. You don't need to use Google Wave in "real time": you can treat it just like e-mail or twitter if you want. Open the wave, ignore anyone else who's editing it, make the changes or reply you want to, and leave it to come back to it later.

    You can use Wave for anything from any level of communication synchronicity from e-mail, through IRC, to teleconference, on a completely continuous sliding scale. No other Internet communications medium we've seen before has that kind of flexibility.

    I also think that a lot of the negative reactions are because it's a paradigm-shifting technology. People don't like change; they don't like adapting to new and unfamiliar ways of working. When e-mail first started becoming widespread, many people found it impossible to understand and deal with; now it's an intrinsic and familiar part of every working environment.

  • by GooberToo (74388) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:47PM (#29611471)

    ...because trying to actively collaborate with 100 people, even face to face, is noisy and futile. The fact this is his resulting opinion, in my opinion, doesn't validate his view in the least. No one has ever claimed using Wave will make humans suddenly super human; able to do things no other humans could previously do.

    Lets be realistic about the types of things people collaborate on and how its currently done today. Try doing that with 100 people or even face to face and its pretty message. And with mediums such as IM or email, its far more likely many will walk away with differing understandings of the effort. Even worse, after the fact, people will be challenged to recall why certain conclusions were reached or decisions were made. None of those are nearly as likely to be problems with waves.

    Also, what people are currently testing and using is simply a proof of concept of a series of robots and applications. These, in of themselves, are not Wave proper. In other words, as people gain more experience, the types of activities, applications, and robots which contribute and provide increased value will only grow over time. The applications which people perceived as "Wave" today is absolutely not the "Wave" people will see tomorrow.

    So the real summary is, he fails to understand what is being used. Likewise, a lack of imagination is obvious, as is realistic expectation. I'm sorry but I can't seriously consider his review on any level. He only comes off as small minded and unrealistic.

    Coming full circle back to expectations, only a handful of people are able to focus on more than single thread of conversation and predominantly they are women. Like any significantly new technology, it takes time to fully absorb and leverage all that the new technology has to offer. In this case, its very likely people will be forced to retrain their brains to better follow multiple, concurrent conversations to fully benefit from the technology. Everyone can do it, but it doesn't come natural to most; especially if you're not female.

    Simply put, Google has provided an absolutely awesome, sky is the limit, technology. If multiple killer applications are not in place which leverage Wave within a year or two, I'd declare this a failure of developers and imagination rather than a failure of Google and/or Wave.

    In this case, I'd say the reviewer has failed everyone.

  • by xirusmom (815129) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:48PM (#29611475)
    I think it is going to be very useful for collaboration projects and some specific conversations. Of course, some people will stay staring at the screen the entire day, but that already happens with facebook, twitter, etc. The point is.. you don't HAVE to. I like the way you can track the conversation even if you got there at a later time. My guess there will be a first moment of wow-ness and them it will fall back to be used normally, like everything that is new.
  • by smallfries (601545) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:49PM (#29611481) Homepage

    It seems that a lot of the early reviews are complaining that when they use like a real-time forum, it gets too busy. When a reviewer claims that he's chatting to 12 people at once and it's too much of a time sink - what is he comparing it to? Chatting to 12 people in a normal IM client is a huge time sink because there is always somebody talking.

    I'd like to read a review by somebody that knows what that they're talking about. Sure, it's a tool that tries to integrate blogs / forums / chat / email into a single product. But that doesn't magically mean that it can turn forum style interaction between hundreds of people into a linear two-person conversion like email.

    If anything, the combination is going to create different conventions for hybrid forms of communication.

  • by MBoffin (259181) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:56PM (#29611551) Homepage

    Keep in mind that these complaints are from the same guy who followed tens of thousands of people on Twitter and complained when Facebook wasn't allowing him to add more than 5,000 friends on Facebook. If he joined an e-mail mailing list with 35,000 subscribers, he would probably complain that mailing lists as a whole are too noisy and write them off as useless. Now that he's dealing with something that requires more attention to actual individual people, he finds it harder to deal with. Well, duh.

    Sure it's noisy on the public waves, but they're public. Everyone is using it all at once... hundreds of people at a time. That's not going to be the main way people use Google Wave. Right now more people are using the public waves because they want to interact with other Wave users, and all their friends aren't on Wave yet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01, 2009 @05:06PM (#29611663)

    Exactly.
    He is acting as if you NEED to be in there 24/7 so you don't miss things.
    Wave is literally a Wiki-IM hybrid.
    You can be instant or as relaxed as you want, it is persistent on the server-end.
    Just because all this information is there, doesn't mean you need to pay attention to it all at the same time.
    Wave won't make superhumans out of us.

    After playing around with it a little, the only potential problem i can see is people interacting with gadgets at the same time, causing collides.
    I've had it happen when a few of us were using a Google Maps gadget.

    This is the truest and best example of Multiplayer Notepad ever. IRC, eat it.

  • Re:Try IRC. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TeXMaster (593524) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @05:08PM (#29611677)
    IRC in itself is pretty good, but it misses a couple of features, like offline backlogging and some kind of more direct integration with pastebins, source code repository and such. I haven't been invited to Google Wave yet, but I had the impression the whole point was to have something like that: an IRC integrated with all the corollary tools that can be used to coordinate development.
  • by ajs (35943) <ajs@a[ ]com ['js.' in gap]> on Thursday October 01, 2009 @05:16PM (#29611761) Homepage Journal

    Twitter and Wave are communication tools. In the hands of someone who has something meaningful to say, they're powerful. In the hands of someone who has nothing to say, they're no more or less a waste of time than any other communications tool.

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @05:23PM (#29611829)

    Simply put, Google has provided an absolutely awesome, sky is the limit, technology. If multiple killer applications are not in place which leverage Wave within a year or two, I'd declare this a failure of developers and imagination rather than a failure of Google and/or Wave.

    In this case, I'd say the reviewer has failed everyone.

    So to summarize your post: the reviewer doesn't make any solid arguments to support his position that Google Wave is not very exciting, and you heartily assert that it's the best thing ever.

  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday October 01, 2009 @05:31PM (#29611885) Journal

    Am I the only only one who doesn't like that everyone all the time know what I am doing, if i'm online or if i'm available for a chat? Or whatever other people are doing. I abandoned MSN messenger for that sole purpose a few years ago, and facebook too.

    There's a lot of socializing time already even without having all these apps on your computer too. I do have instant messaging for my work, but those people *know* when it's the right time to msg me and they're doing so for a good reason - not just to ask "whats up dude?"

    It's nice to have some peace sometimes, and computer is a really nice way for that. I dont want all the contacts and people bothering me when I just want to spend some time and feel relaxed.

  • by Goalie_Ca (584234) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @05:31PM (#29611889)
    Public waves sounds a lot like 4chan.
  • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @05:43PM (#29611971) Homepage

    Exactly. If you look at different people's e-mail inboxes, some are full of primarily work-related communiques, while others are filled with idle conversations with family & friends. If you find that your inbox is filled with chain letters and unproductive correspondences, then perhaps you need to reconsider your e-mail habits and who you give your contact info to (or use 2 separate e-mail accounts). It doesn't make sense to blame the communication protocol or your e-mail client. Likewise, instant messaging and even text messaging can be very powerful/efficient business tools (my boss, for instance, splits his time during office hours about 50/30/20 between text messaging, e-mail, and the phone, respectively), but that doesn't mean everyone will use it as such (or even knows how).

    From what I saw in the demo video, you can control who you choose to invite into your wave. So if you find that it's making you unproductive, then maybe you need to be more discerning about who you choose to invite to your wave. If your friends have nothing better to do all day but to distract you from your work on your wave, then that seems more like a social problem rather than a technological one.

  • by NatasRevol (731260) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @06:00PM (#29612115) Journal

    No they don't. They want to see the client in order to hand them the bill.

  • by abhi_beckert (785219) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @06:06PM (#29612191)

    Those that simply have to stay connected to others at all times in order to feel validated and important will love Google Wave. Right there in front of you is evidence that people are connected to you! In real time! Better than texting! It's so amazingly interactive! It's like... like... a telephone!

    It doesn't need to be a "real time" system at all. Everyone pays attention to the instant message/email side of Wave. People need to pay more attention to using it for things like an issue tracker or a wiki.

    An issue tracker starts out as a single idea, then may move into a discussion, and then it gets completed. Wave looks perfect, you stick the description as a new wave, you discuss it, and then once it's complete you drop the whole wave and swap in a one line summary of the problem and the implemented solution.

    A wiki article is similar, if we are working on a new system we will first start with a list of objectives, and then discuss how each objective will be implemented, and then once it is implemented we drop the whole thing and insert documentation for how to use the freshly built system.

    Wave is a natural fit for a real world conversation or meeting. First someone kicks it off with a description of the topic to be covered, and then everyone talks about it, and from then on you don't care about the conversation, you only want to see the final product. Conversations and meetings are real time *because we have no good tools to do it any other way*. Google wave allows you to have a discussion either in real time, or not in real time. It's up to the user to decide.

  • Top posting is not evil. It's a natural response to the fact that email dialogues begin at the top of the message. Just because you'd like the actual new content of the message to be all the way at the bottom doesn't mean everyone else does. Gmail does this right. Top or bottom posted, the quoted text is automatically hidden, as it should be. The first and only thing that should be seen by default in an email message is new content.

    We need to put such trivialities behind us and deal with the real problem facing email today. Salutations and Valedictions. Why the hell to you put my name at the top or your name at the bottom when its says right at the top who the emails is from and to?! This madness must end!!!

  • by jhfry (829244) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @06:21PM (#29612323)

    Ok, I'm a nobody... but personally, I think this is going to be a revolution in communication and to say it's overhyped is plain stupid.

    Essentially, the technology is very complicated, but the premise is something we can all follow and appreciate. We all need to communicate in realtime sometimes, we all need to communicate at our own pace sometimes, and we all need to collaborate sometimes; until now that required a minimum of 3 separate tools and mindsets.

    Google hasn't created anything really new with wave, we have all done the things wave allows us to do before... but we have never done them with the same tool. And we have never done them with a tool that allowed us to seamlessly transition from one paradigm to another without thought.

    I KNOW that this is the future of on line communication, if not Wave then something like it. I absolutely LOVE the fact that Google recognized the importance of what they were doing and created Wave as a standard that could be implemented by competitors... creating a technology rather than an application.

  • by DynamiteNeon (623949) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @06:32PM (#29612399)

    I look at it a little differently, and I don't put them all in the same categories.

    Facebook, for example, is mostly for friends that I don't talk to regularly, so for those people it's a good place to give periodic updates and keep in touch on a less regular basis. I don't update every single day, so as long as you use it in moderation it can serve a purpose.

    People that I communicate with more often are either in person or on the phone, so they're a closer circle of friends and family than I would use facebook for.

    I haven't personally found a use for Twitter, since I generally agree I don't feel like relaying how many bowel movements I've had today or giving every single detail out to the public. I guess I could see a use if you like following celebrities or some special groups that have started using it, like the LA Fire Department, but otherwise it's not my thing.

  • by elucido (870205) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @07:11PM (#29612651)

    Some jobs require teamwork to get the job done. It makes sense to have 12 people talking about something when you are all working on the same problem or all building the same thing. The fact that he thinks it would decrease productivity shows that he doesn't work in the sort of industry where teamwork is encouraged. If you work with 12 people there are instances where you will need realtime communication with all 12. Rather than have a series of meetings and brainstorming sessions you can stay at your desk or even work from home with apps like this. I don't see how it would decrease productivity unless its used as a toy.

  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @07:23PM (#29612723)

    Top posting is not evil. It's a natural response to the fact that email dialogues begin at the top of the message. Just because you'd like the actual new content of the message to be all the way at the bottom doesn't mean everyone else does.

    No, not "all the way at the bottom," at least if they're responding to more than one specific point in a message.

    If one is responding to specific points, then they should always obviously delete any bits you aren't responding to AND respond below. Why respond below? Because we read from top down, and when bottom-posting the reader can read it normally -- read the bit of quoted material for context THEN read the response directly beneath.

    In the *rare* times that top-posters *do* respond to specific points, then the reader has to constantly "tennis-match" move their eyes up and down to read quoted material/new material.

    Note some many people consider "top-posting" while forwarding is hypocrisy of top-posting haters. I disagree, because when forwarding, one rarely makes specific/detailed responses to various different pieces in an email. (If so, then they should reply, and possibly add new CCed people, mentioning that new CCs were added.) Generally, at least the way I use it, forwarding is more of "Hey, take a look at this:", so putting that comment at the top makes sense.

  • by aj50 (789101) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @08:28PM (#29613097)

    I guess that holds true, but only if you use wave like twitter (which is to miss its main attractions).

    Where wave really shines is for collaboration, communicating ideas between people working together towards a solution rather than disseminating information to a large audience.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @08:31PM (#29613121)

    I have an RSS reader that does the same thing. Except that if the interesting person has more to say than 140 characters I can read that too.

    And people used to worry MTV was shortening attention spans.

  • by cowscows (103644) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @08:39PM (#29613153) Journal

    I guess my friends aren't as big a bunch of dicks as yours. Anybody that'd I'd consider a decent friend knows enough about my personality to not take it personally if I don't bother to answer. If they don't know me well enough to understand, then chances are I don't care what they think anyways so whatever.

  • by Rary (566291) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @09:25PM (#29613353)

    Why is it sad that something that has been honed over decades comes out on top of something that hasn't even reached beta testing yet? I would hope the ATC system comes out very, very, very far on top.

  • I always add the salutation - because if I don't, people on the CC: list will reply, thinking I addressed it to them. Some people are rushed. It is a courtesy.

  • by nomadhacker (1430203) on Friday October 02, 2009 @12:31AM (#29614125)
    Mostly by Robert Scoble.
  • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Friday October 02, 2009 @03:58AM (#29614801)

    It's like... like... a telephone!

    Like a telephone? LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! Phone can LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! be nice, but they have LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! a huge and very annoyLOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! annoying habit of breaking LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! your train of LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! thought.
    LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!
    LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!
    LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!
    People LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! ask me why my cellphone is LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! always set to silent LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! with a vibrate opLOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! option. It's LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! very simple. I hate thoLOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! those interruptions.

    People just don't seem to understand what it means to be polite any more. Just the other day I was talking to a sales assistant when his phone rings. He then proceeds to answer the phone and starts talking to what is clearly another customer.

    Instead of just doign like people usually do in those situations, which is to grumble quietly, I decided to act like a telephone. So while he was trying to talk with this customer, I kept saying this at a very loud voice: LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!.

    When he finally said "just a moment" to the guy on the phone and gave me a look as if I was being insanely rude for no apparent reason I told him: "What makes the customer who's calling you, more important than the guy who is in the fucking store, cash in hand, looking to buy something? If you can't manage to handle a phone properly, and merely tell the guy on the phone to please hold, you need to go tell your boss that you're an idiot who shouldn't be trusted to have a phone on him. The guy on the phone is asking you for specs on a 100 dollar item, I'm looking at buying a 2,000 dollar item. And you just lost the sale. Have a nice day."

    Yes, phones are interactive - that means you can ignore it. Most people won't. I suppose they're expecting Publisher's Clearing House [wikipedia.org] to call them any minute now, telling them they've just won ten million dollars.

    And yes, I hate it when IMs, emails and other communication tools decide that they are the most important thing in the world and need to jump in front of everything else to gain your attention. This goes for programs I'm starting as well - if I switch my attention to something else while waiting for that program to start, stay in the fucking background! I'm not the only one with this particular peeve either [bash.org]:

    #4848
      damn
      FUCK
      DAMN
      i was just in an AIM convo with a chick, and my grandmother's window pops up
      FUCK
      i go like this to her
      "i want to suck on your clit"
      FUCK

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