Google Wave Breaks The Email Mold


By now you’ve probably heard something about Google Wave which saw a private preview release last week. The video above is an eight minute overview of the core functionality that the Wave offers. Wave development was based on the premise that email, invented 40 years ago, has not kept pace with our working needs as a technological society. Wave looks to improve on the email model by combining real time chat features, in line conversations, and web tools like document sharing and real-time translation.

The team here at Hack a Day uses a collaborative effort to bring you the best hacks we can find. To do so, we use a combination of email, instant messaging, document sharing, IRC, and old-fashioned conference calling. We’re waiting patiently for our invitation and although we’ve been skeptical of some past Google offerings, we hope the advertised features of Google Wave will allow us to improve our team coverage for the benefit of our readers.

Are you already using Google Wave? Please share your experiences with us in the comments.

68 thoughts on “Google Wave Breaks The Email Mold

  1. A friend of mine got an original invite, and he kindly sent me one from it. I haven’t gotten it yet, though. So, I can tell you that process takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r. But from what I saw it looked pretty bare-bones still

  2. I’ve sent a request for a beta account 4 month ago when it was first announced. I’ve got a pretty good application for it (I think) but I never got an answer. It looks awesome but if they really want it to replace email, chat and blogging software it must be 100% open.

  3. I’ve been on the beta for a while now (had a dev preview acct) and overall, It’s very hard to judge how useful the base service will be until I can get everyone on my office on it, and use it for a while. It’s definitely not a “replacement” for Twitter, IRC or Blogs, but it could be a good alternative to email for some things, kind of a shared workspace thing for small projects or mini-projects. Not good for anything “public facing”

    The protocol alone is probably worth the hype, but the client is still very beta (much moreso than Gmail was upon it’s “beta” release). Basically the protocol allows you to keep two or more copies of a single XML document in sync in real time. For an application that can deal with that, it’s extremely powerful, and can see lots of uses.

  4. Seems like a glorified IM to me. You can now add photos though. Maybe once I actually use it, I might change my name, but it seems like a step up from what is already out there. I admit it is a step up, but can’t really call it re-inventing email.

  5. Calling it a replacement for email and stuff is rather ignorant, but the most sensible use case I can see it as a very useful tool for teams needing to share info and files in RT.

  6. @nave.notnilc

    I think it’s true that you can’t necessarily call it an email replacement because it isn’t exactly like email. However, once the core group of people I communicate with is on it, I think it will supplant 60-70% of the email I send. In a real sense, that is an email replacement.

  7. UGH… people stop asking for invites, sorry to break it to you but no one cares enough to send you an invite.

    I am waiting patiently just like everyone else for google to send me an invite.

  8. This just looks like a web-aware OneNote that Microsoft already has as part of the Office 2007 Enterprise edition.

    One thing I hate about email is getting replies and trying to reply as other replies are filtering in. Whoooops sent off a reply but an email I received one minute later changes my reply. Grgrrrrrrrr now I need to send another mail and hope I do not upset the recipients.

  9. Next person that asks for an invite gets signed up to as many spam sites as I can find before I get bored.

    @vonskippy: I’m fairly sure there was, or will be, a way to disable seeing your live edit (ie giving you as much time as you want to reply).

  10. I have been playing with Wave since it was first in beta testing. I messed around and created some API’s for Google Apps and I think that’s why I got an invite……….

    Anyway, after playing and tinkering with it, I think it has some promise. It does force you into rethinking the method(s) in which you communicate with people. Wave will simply merge the way we communicate into one platform. When you first start into it, it can be quite daunting and confusing just like any other ‘new’ social networking or email program.

    @vonskippy, you can actually still send private messages to individual users much like email. So it is still like an email but with far more built in tools with real time replies. It is still in beta and there is still a lot of work to be done. So time will tell on this one.

    The idea has a lot of merit. I can see loads of benefits in business and collaborative efforts.

  11. This is basically Ray Ozzie’s Groove from back in 2001 or so, before Microsoft bought it and mangled it, and with some new functionality allowed by the proliferance of web APIs these days. Certainly not anything new. Could be convenient, but might require companies other than Google to get in on the act if it wants to become more than a toy.
    Or am I missing something?

  12. I’m waiting for my invite.

    I wonder if it’ll actually amount to anything though, or will it become yet another web-based communication “thing”.

    This decade seems to have been all about social networking. Let’s hope the next one is about computer networking again. I’d like a few protocols creating so that all these different sites can communicate with each other transparently and automatically.

    Why can’t I send an IM to an MSN user from my GoogleTalk account? I can email people on MSN from my Google account… Why can’d I send messages from Twitter to Facebook users *without* having to install an app to do that specifically?

    … we need protocols, like SMTP and IMAP, with some sort of addressing system.

    The Internet’s got too many walled gardens in it, each one trying to outdo the others.

  13. booooring…
    ..besides… this same thing has already existed through a terminal window for aaaages… I can remember doing the same thing in some old DOS program on a 14.4kbps modem between 3 of us… maybe it just wasn’t pretty enough to catch on…
    ehh… whatever.

  14. It’s not Internet anymore, call it wave, googlenet, whatever. On Internet your data and the content are not centralized on some big compagny’s servers, you are the owner of the data and other people may access it. That’s the only way to have privacy, the only way to have a real network, the way Internet was thought.

  15. I am also one of the initial g-wave users. All I can tell you about it is that if you want to find out how it works and what it does, you can probably check the videos from g-wave devs.

    It really doesn’t do more than you probably already know.

    One thing I’ve noticed while playing with it, is that it eats memory, and lots of it.

    A quick experiment showed me that when I was just idling (only one window open in FF, with only one tab – the g-wave one), the allocated memory for the browser was increasing by 2k every second. If I started clicking the links and typing/interacting with it, the memory usage would increase to about 50k every second.

    Has anyone else noticed this behaviour?

  16. People are currently being invited to try (a public preview of) an implementation of a Wave _client_.

    What’s really interesting is the Wave Federation Protocol which is an extension to XMPP [RFC3920] and could well be a game changer for the way stuff happens on the web.

    Have a read of this guy’s take on Wave: which hints at Wave being quite a bit more than just a replacement for email et al.

  17. I like how there is an icon used next to your text for the real-time translation. Machine translation isn’t quite perfect yet. Now if we could just get people to use the proper form of their own language, we would be set.
    All your base are belong to us.

  18. The video gives 2 uses for this, a) organizing a BBQ and b) project collaboration.

    Well, isn’t this all a bit over the top for organizing a BBQ? I can quite easily create an event on Facebook, or send a text message or tweet to people I want invited.

    And as for project collaboration, there is no way my company would allow project documentation to be held ‘in the cloud’. Who controls the security? Who controls the backups?

    I get the feeling it’s a solution looking for a problem.

  19. @Mr Dan, your company can host it’s own server implementing the wave federation protocol and making wave services available to your users and thus manage storage and security of your own data.

    Regarding the BBQ, you’ve kind of hit the nail squarely upon its head – you could use all those disparate services to arrange an event or you could create a single ‘conversation’ using wave. Add your invitees to the wave, set a time and venue, discuss what booze needs to bought, etc. Your invitees can all participate in the same conversation using whichever wave client they choose, in real time (or not, whatever).

  20. @jah

    Thanks for that link, it explains more clearly what can be done and the benefits of the protocol. The video just focused on what the Google Wave site was doing with it, which is where my queries stemmed from.

  21. This is definitely not a next-gen email solution. People are able to see what you’re typing as you’re typing it? Sounds fun socially but I can’t imagine using this in the office when I’m engaged in a bitchy string of emails with management…

  22. Hope this dies a horrible death! I currently have to answer / send out a hundred e-mails a day.

    Imagine my pain if I do this in real time to 100s of emailees.

    My CC list can be 30 or 40 people.

    My life will be run on this thing, on commute on my mobile phone, to work on desktop, relaxing at home on my set top box.

    Can we goback to paper and pen now, please.

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