It’s been a couple of weeks now that I’ve had access to Google Wave, and sent out my invites. So, now what?

Google Wave logo

Well, it’s still fairly quiet. A lot of the people I sent invites to have the “What the hell is this?” reaction. A lot of the conversations that are going on are of the “hey, I’m on Google Wave - Wow, so am I!” variety. To be honest, I sometimes felt like I was using a preview of a chat client - until I was on the This Week in Google 15 wave (open your Google Wave client and search for twig or twig15).

In this wave a discussion developed on the Novell Pulse product that was announced. After seeing it mentioned, I googled around for a bit and found a demo video. During the video, the collaborative editing was demonstrated, and I remarked that it was missing the little balloons that show up when someone types within Google Wave. One of the other participants asked me for the link to the demon, I posted it, and he proceeded to incorporate all that into my original message. That was a really powerful moment to see what collaborative editing can look like.

Apart from that, there hasn’t been a whole lot of collaboration going on. I made some notes during a presentation where two colleagues had Wave invites, but they never collaborated on the notes. I guess the whole form is still a little foreign to most people; if you have edited a Wiki entry, you may have an advantage, but otherwise, you really have to have a good use case.

The big step for Wave will probably be the Federation server. I can see several applications of publicizing a wave within our company, but I don’t want to make that wave public to the whole world. I’m hoping Federation will give us that capability.

Another improvement (without criticizing the Google wave client) would be different types of clients to the Wave protocol. Novell’s Pulse is/could be one, but I think it would be beneficial if multiple clients appear (look what happened to the web browsers when Internet Explorer got competition from Mozilla (Firefox), Apple (Safari) and Google (Chrome)).

The next couple of months will be interesting for Wave’s development. I think a lot of people forget that we’re still looking at a Preview (not a Beta!). Once the Wave splashes down on more people, it will be more stable and mature. Until then it’s a test environment, with only occasional glimpses of its potential.