Breaking Down the Google Wave Hype

02Oct09

Now that I’ve spent a few posts singing praises for Google Wave, it’s time to shoot down some of the hype that’s surrounded the product.

Step aside email, the waves are here

Google, like it has in the past, is working on a new product. They have big ambitions, sure, but they had big ambitions with Google Notebook and Orkut too. Heck, very little of what Google does is created by thinking small.

Google Wave is tricky because it’s a communications platform, a series of tools intended to help us communicate better. There’s a key word in that sentence: US. Ultimately what will make Google Wave die or thrive is the people who use it and how they use it. So before anyone starts making predictions about the end of SMTP, keep in mind that how Google Wave works (never mind how its implemented) will need to be common knowledge, something that at the moment, seems vastly lacking.

It’s REAL TIME!!! OMG!!!

I can see how one might use waves for real time communication, and how it might even be beneficial in certain collaborative settings. That said, I think the feature is vastly overrated. Content created quickly is headline grabbing and interesting, but it doesn’t have staying power. The things that will set waves apart are features that endure over time and make possible things that simply weren’t before. I already have an IM client for shooting the breeze with my friends… impress me another way.

You can play Sudoku in your email!

While I can think of a number of exciting things about waves, I can’t say that finding new ways to kill time is one of them. This might be a personal preference, but replicating a Sudoku game in the middle of a conversation just doesn’t strike me as adding much value to how people communicate. Perhaps if Google wanted us to live in the Wave product it would mean something, but there are are wave features and implications that deserve much more attention than this one has gotten.

That’s my short list for shooting down the Google Wave hype. Hit me with comments below, or on Twitter @remixer96.

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