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Google Wave - the next big thing, or a wash?
May 28, 2009 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Why do we have to live with divides between different types of communication? Introducing Google Wave.

"In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. It's concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content — it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use "playback" to rewind the wave and see how it evolved."
posted by CunningLinguist (139 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Er, so this is like a Wiki or Sharepoint mated with WebEx or LiveMeeting?
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on May 28, 2009


This looks like what I wish Facebook had been.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:02 AM on May 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't get it.
posted by Outlawyr at 11:02 AM on May 28, 2009


Why don't you just watch the video? It's pretty informative.

And no.
posted by chunking express at 11:02 AM on May 28, 2009


I have to admit I don't really get it either. But I figured someone here would shed more light.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:02 AM on May 28, 2009


I eagerly await the video explaining what the hell it is.
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't watch it. It says to "Please check back for the keynote presentation video."
posted by chorltonmeateater at 11:03 AM on May 28, 2009


The video, she no work.
posted by Outlawyr at 11:04 AM on May 28, 2009


But if you want they'll email you when it's ready!
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on May 28, 2009


So, its a few small screenshots and a reference to some future video. Maybe let's wait like six hours before posting this.
posted by Plutor at 11:05 AM on May 28, 2009


It's like the new Wolfram Alpha!
posted by Artw at 11:06 AM on May 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


Google Wave can make you more productive even when you're having fun.

No.
posted by gurple at 11:08 AM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


The video was working five minutes ago.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:09 AM on May 28, 2009


This O'Reilly article has some more information.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:09 AM on May 28, 2009


The video on wave.google.com doesn't work for me, but there are links to some technical explanations on one of the other pages.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:09 AM on May 28, 2009


Betcha it'll be for Windows only. Fail.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:14 AM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seems like it is ICQ without the boss typewriter noise.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:14 AM on May 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Considering it's a web app, I'm guessing it'll be cross-platform.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:17 AM on May 28, 2009


Betcha it'll be for Windows only. Fail.

Are most of google's webapps windows only? (Honest question, I have no idea, outside the few I use which work in linux.)
posted by inigo2 at 11:17 AM on May 28, 2009


But then he couldn't have said the all-damning "FAIL."
posted by basicchannel at 11:18 AM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "Betcha it'll be for Windows only. Fail."

Always a safe bet with Google, those whores for Micro$oft.
posted by shmegegge at 11:20 AM on May 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


I'll bet it will have some qualities or characteristics that I will not enjoy. Just guessing here. Given that we know nothing about it. It probably won't work for me, or on my system.

Perhaps it will be something like those other things I know nothing about.
posted by Outlawyr at 11:21 AM on May 28, 2009 [26 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon has been replaced by Blazecock Pileon Bot.
posted by Artw at 11:21 AM on May 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


Personally, I like being able to separate my email from my twitter/facebook/IM/everything else. Not least of the reasons is that I don't like to put all of my eggs in one basket so that when Gmail goes down I can still get ahold of people through other channels. But more to the point, I don't always want to be expected to respond instantly, like an IM implies. Whereas an email does not give that need (as much).

Merging them together ("in the cloud!!") just counts as a push away from email in general, in my mind.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:24 AM on May 28, 2009


Natural Language Processing when Spell-Checking. Hype.
posted by chunking express at 11:25 AM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


"As Lars describes it, "We set out to answer the question: What would email look like if we set out to invent it today?"

I wish the answer were "Like this."
posted by MarshallPoe at 11:25 AM on May 28, 2009 [11 favorites]


A comment in the O'Reilly article sums it up nicely:

Google Wave is FriendFeed with benefits.
posted by rokusan at 11:27 AM on May 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Are most of google's webapps windows only?

A good number of their non-search-engine properties have been released for Windows, with version-behind-releases for other platforms years after the fact (if ever). Chrome itself is still Windows-only. If integrating all these forms of media requires a special Chrome-specific feature, then it would be another Windows-only app.

/oils rusty robot bolts
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:29 AM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I remember the good old days when it took, like, a couple days before people hated something new Now people hate this new thing before they've even seen it.

The time it takes for a backlash to form against new technology seems to be cut in half every couple of years. It's like a Moore's law of snark.
posted by bondcliff at 11:29 AM on May 28, 2009 [26 favorites]


Anyway, this is probably not a great post, because it's vaporware at this juncture.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:31 AM on May 28, 2009


bondcliff - does that mean we reach the "back-backlash phase of contrarian embracement" of said product in time for its actual release?
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:34 AM on May 28, 2009


This morning, Google plans to announce an HTML 5-based application - still very much in the early stages of development - that represents a profound advance in the state of the art.

Is HTML 5 something I need to have Windoze$$$ to understand????!!!?!?elevnens
posted by eyeballkid at 11:35 AM on May 28, 2009


Looks like IRC with the ability to spam people's screens with annoying pictures. So it's awesome.
posted by zsazsa at 11:35 AM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave

You mean just like talk (the program) has been able to do for decades now?
posted by gyc at 11:36 AM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fuck this, pass me the Miracle Whip.
posted by Mister_A at 11:38 AM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is not an "app". It's a website. Any platform that can run a browser with HTML5 support will have access. I think you're trying to relate it to stuff like Google Earth, Sketchup or Picasa, all of which were pre-existing Windows apps whose original creators Google bought out. This is meant to take place on the web.
posted by ckolderup at 11:39 AM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Zing zing zing zingzingzingzngzngzgzgzgzgzgzgz
posted by Artw at 11:39 AM on May 28, 2009


This is kind of a weak post, but it's not vaporware and it's done in HTML 5 - it's a web app, like Google Docs - so it's not windows-specific. It may or may not succeed, but if it fails it won't be because no one wrote the code for it. The code is all there. It takes more than working code to make a success though.
posted by GuyZero at 11:42 AM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a tremendous usability challenge here, and I'm not convinced they've got a good solution to it. Collaborative real-time document editing is notoriously difficult and unpleasant. They are essentially throwing Docs, Mail, and Chat into a big bucket and seeing if they stick.

And given their track record, I'm not sure they will. Google is fantastic at taking existing applications (search, maps, e-mail, office) and making them shine through a combination of sheer technical muscle and understanding how that innovation enables the application to evolve. When they attempt to invent something new (Orkut, Jaiku, Dodgeball, Notebook, etc), they fail. And that's because their organizational culture stifles the kinds of skills necessary to translate a vision of something totally new into something that people can actually use and enjoy.

I think it's telling that they're launching with a ton of information about the codebase, the protocol, and the architecture and how it meshes so wonderfully with HTML5 and powered by Chrome bla bla blah, but only a few screenshots and one grainy video of WHAT IT ACTUALLY DOES. It's pretty clear where their focus is.

I'll reserve final judgement until I have a chance to try it. But I'm skeptical.
posted by xthlc at 11:48 AM on May 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


google: strength through discipline! strength through community! strength through action!
posted by the aloha at 11:48 AM on May 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is this the Borg?
posted by LarryC at 11:49 AM on May 28, 2009


inigo2: "Are most of google's webapps windows only?"

Obviously, their webapps aren't. But also most of their stand-alone applications aren't either (although most of them are Windows-only in the first release).

Windows only, as of today:
• Chrome
• Google Talk: Windows (also web-based through Gmail)

Cross-platform:
• Google Desktop: Linux, Mac, Windows
• Google Earth: Linux, Mac, Windows, iPhone
• Gmail Notifier: Mac, Windows
• Picasa: Linux, Mac, Windows
• SketchUp: Mac, Windows
• Gears: Linux, Mac, Windows (Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari)
posted by Plutor at 11:49 AM on May 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


This can be the basis for distributed, decentralized social networking, and isn't so much about redefining email as moving away from giant walled garden communication platforms like Facebook et al. The protocol is smart, and its open source approach is the right way to go about this.

From what I've seen so far, I think it deserves to be huge. But time will tell.
posted by bwerdmuller at 11:50 AM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


The time it takes for a backlash to form against new technology seems to be cut in half every couple of years. It's like a Moore's law of snark.

It's easy to hate things that don't exist yet, things like Venusian Screaming Flu ferinstance.
posted by The Whelk at 11:51 AM on May 28, 2009


xthlc, why do you think Notebook failed? It's one of my all time favorite gizmos - I use it every day, all day, and can't understand why Google let it die.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:53 AM on May 28, 2009


Pillaging much from Kadin2048's O'Reilly article:

In short: conversations become shared documents

Screenshots: "wave desktop," editing a conversation, and playing chess

Jens, Lars, and team re-imagined email and instant-messaging in a connected world, a world in which messages no longer need to be sent from one place to another, but could become a conversation in the cloud. Effectively, a message (a wave) is a shared communications space with elements drawn from email, instant messaging, social networking, and even wikis.

Let's say you are added to a conversation (a wave) that has been going on for a long time? You can be added at any relevant point, not just the end. But even cooler, you can do a playback of the entire evolution of the conversation.

But wait: there's more! Let's say you want to edit your message (or even a message that was written by another participant in the wave). Yes, you can. The original author is notified, but every participant can see that the message has been modified, and if they want, can replay the changes.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:53 AM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


The time it takes for a backlash to form against new technology seems to be cut in half every couple of years. It's like a Moore's law of snark.

It's be even faster using Google Wave!
posted by NationalKato at 11:54 AM on May 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


*It'll
posted by NationalKato at 11:55 AM on May 28, 2009


Can we make a metafilter wave? Then we'll see - IN REALTIME - when someone drops a peeing elephant into the thread.... i mean the wave.
posted by bDiddy at 11:57 AM on May 28, 2009


I remember the good old days when it took, like, a couple days before people hated something new Now people hate this new thing before they've even seen it.

Well, if you talk about how you're going to talk about something and it's going to be awesome then, yeah, you'll irritate some people and people will probably hope you embarrass yourself. Hype breads cynicism.

That said, I think metafilter seems to have a higher density of hype haters then normal. There are a lot of credulous people out there who think the next new X brought to you by Y is going to Change Everything. Just look at Apple fans...
posted by delmoi at 11:57 AM on May 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Google Wave?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:00 PM on May 28, 2009


I thought it was a man fucking a chicken, not a peeing elephant.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:00 PM on May 28, 2009


This can be the basis for distributed, decentralized social networking, and isn't so much about redefining email as moving away from giant walled garden communication platforms like Facebook et al. The protocol is smart, and its open source approach is the right way to go about this.

Isn't it just another walled garden, but with more doors? Open source is great, and open protocols means someone can create That New Thing and it will work with your Old Thing. But everything requires adoption, from telephones to instant messaging. I could swear off of all conversation except letters sent the postal system, as it's the most common, but you still need a mailbox or Post Office Box.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:01 PM on May 28, 2009


sweet! I'd been hoping some less evil company would conquer facebook.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:03 PM on May 28, 2009


> Is HTML 5 something I need to have Windoze$$$ to understand????!!!?!?elevnens

Pretty much any browser on your computer except Internet Explorer has HTML 5 support to some extent. The Safari and Chrome browsers (not coincidentally, both using WebKit) are at the vanguard right now, probably not coincidentally since Apple and Google have the most to gain from turning the browser into an application environment.

Microsoft's embrace-and-extend approach to using standards as the bases for proprietary environments has backfired. These days Microsoft's so far behind in the browser wars that the best they can do is brag that Internet Explorer 8 is only a couple years behind the technological curve. The coming Mobile IE browser is even farther behind.

It's worth keeping in mind that HTML5 is not a standard, and won't be ratified as such for years to come. It's encouraging that the Firefox and Webkit teams are enthusiastic about supporting it. The politics behind building standards, particularly for something as significant as this, are ugly and protracted. But at that it's a positive sign, compared to (for example) the CSS 1 and CSS 2 standards, which ratified with, at best, indifferent support from the major browser companies for almost a decade.
posted by ardgedee at 12:05 PM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Awesome! Now our collective grandparents can have discussions, images, games and polls integrated into the creepy, vaguely racist chain letters they send out to all of us!

Even better, they'll be able to see me struggle with trying to compose a polite way to request that I be taken off of their list -- in real-time!
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 12:06 PM on May 28, 2009 [18 favorites]


I think it'll be interesting for performance art, but maybe not much else. I'm not convinced people want the ability to change anything, anywhere and then "replay the changes."

Same for natural language, real-time spell-check. Are misspelled words really harshing our mellows that much?
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:07 PM on May 28, 2009


Google Wave eerily reminds me of this cartoon.
posted by alzi at 12:10 PM on May 28, 2009


That said, I think metafilter seems to have a higher density of hype haters then normal.

absolutely. which is why i like those members who are willing to counteract the other people who think that
the next new X brought to you by Y is going to Change Everything. Just look at Apple fans...

while this comes at the cost of more cynicism on this than is my personal taste (i opnely admit to my online cynicism as part of the peanut gallery), i prefer that people offer a counterbalance to all of the direct advertising and all of the free advertising by proxy which meets practically everything that only certain commercial entities put out there since critical thinking is beyond most of us (i also openly admit to not giving everything on here my best considerations).
posted by the aloha at 12:11 PM on May 28, 2009


xthlc, why do you think Notebook failed? It's one of my all time favorite gizmos - I use it every day, all day, and can't understand why Google let it die.

I second this. I think I use gmail the most, then google maps, then google notebook in a close third place.
posted by inigo2 at 12:13 PM on May 28, 2009


There's a tremendous usability challenge here, and I'm not convinced they've got a good solution to it. Collaborative real-time document editing is notoriously difficult and unpleasant. They are essentially throwing Docs, Mail, and Chat into a big bucket and seeing if they stick.

Actually Google docs already have collaborative editing, and (at least as far as I've tried it) it works really well. But I haven't tried to do anything serious with it.

I'm not really sure this is all that exciting. It sounds like a chat window, message board, and wiki page jammed together. I can see how it could be useful, say for example if you were collaborating with some students on a project for class you could have meetings at a certain time, post notes and work on the key documents you need to turn in (the 'deliverables') all at the same time. But you can also do that right now by using separate tools and just bringing them all up on your screen at the same time. So it might make people's experiences slightly smoother but at the same time you would have to give up whatever features you had in other applications.

The thing is, while different 'levels of immediacy' in communication are walled off from each other, all this is doing (as far as I can tell) is walling things off by topic. I don't know if it really solves any problem as opposed to just re-arranging things that already exist. Sometimes rearranging existing tools can really improve things but in this case I don't really see much of a huge improvement.
posted by delmoi at 12:16 PM on May 28, 2009


These days Microsoft's so far behind in the browser wars that the best they can do is brag that Internet Explorer 8

Yeah sure, you tell your boss not to use Sharepoint because it is proprietary and not compatible with Safari. All they want is the "Show folder in Windows Explorer" button so they can drag and drop into a web folder.
posted by geoff. at 12:17 PM on May 28, 2009


Cross-platform:
• Google Desktop: Linux, Mac, Windows
• Google Earth: Linux, Mac, Windows, iPhone
• Gmail Notifier: Mac, Windows
• Picasa: Linux, Mac, Windows
• SketchUp: Mac, Windows
• Gears: Linux, Mac, Windows (Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari)


Before this comment collects favorites, it is useful to remember that a lot of these were Windows-only apps or IE-only webapps for quite some time.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:17 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


how am i supposed to express my beautiful snowflakey online identity if people are always editing my thoughts?

and as usual there's an appropriate xkcd
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:20 PM on May 28, 2009


Is HTML 5 something I need to have Windoze$$$ to understand????!!!?!?elevnens

Pretty much any browser on your computer except Internet Explorer has HTML 5 support to some extent.


Thanks for the reply, but it wasn't a serious question. It was a response to the "omg google's apps only work on windows!!" hole Blazecock Pileon keeps digging himself deeper into.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:21 PM on May 28, 2009


Looks interesting. I'd would have to be pretty compelling to overcome my data inertia but google has a history of upsetting the status quo. I will reserve my snark for later.
posted by chairface at 12:21 PM on May 28, 2009


Also, another thing that irritates me about corporate hype is when people decide they need a totally new noun to describe what you'll be creating. Why not just call these things "pages" or "channels" or "page channels". Yeah they don't perfictly capture what these things do but English is pretty flexable. The word "wave" has nothing to do with what this does, and if you were going to use a fluid metaphor "stream" or "flow" would make more sense anyway. At least it's not an entirely made up word like "Knol"

New verbs also bug me.
posted by delmoi at 12:23 PM on May 28, 2009


> Er, so this is like a Wiki or Sharepoint mated with WebEx or LiveMeeting?

> This looks like what I wish Facebook had been.

> It's like the new Wolfram Alpha!

> Personally, I like being able to separate my email from my twitter/facebook/IM/everything else.

> Google Wave is FriendFeed with benefits.

One of the problems to widespread adoption I'm seeing is that the alpha geeks who all over the announcement right now are trying to apprehend it in terms of existing technologies. Google is saying it's kind of like mail, kind of like IM, but TOTALLY DIFFERENT, and therefore better for reasons you'll figure out because you'll use the API to make it your very own!

Twitter was pretty easy to grasp, because even though it didn't bear a close resemblance to other website services it was also dead-easy to use: Type something and click "Send". Pretty nearly everything else is ancillary behavior. Buy-in to Twitter is so cheap, in terms of effort and time, that adoption is contingent only on whether people found things to do with it.

Wave, on the other hand, looks massive. The screenshot they've posted to show you the possibilities is pretty freaking overwhelming, with multiple panes of activity, buttons with unlabeled glyphs, and a couple dozen things going on that you can only guess at. It looks like the effort to figure out how to use it, nevermind how to make it useful, is going to be massive. It's going to be accused of being overengineered, built around use cases only important to people who write use cases.

I think Wave is interesting and I want to try it out. On the other hand, if it's only going to be useful to people who make the effort to make it useful, it's not actually going to be useful.
posted by ardgedee at 12:23 PM on May 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


It was a response to the "omg google's apps only work on windows!!" hole Blazecock Pileon keeps digging himself deeper into.

FWIW, I'm actually looking forward to running Chrome, as soon as they get around to making it for the platforms I use at work and at home.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:24 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Was I the only person reading this who thought Google might actually be on the cusp of bringing us real-time machine-based voice translation? Now that'd be cause for celebration. This Wave, not so much.
posted by eschatfische at 12:25 PM on May 28, 2009


I thought that Chrome was basically just the implementation of WebKit that didn't suck for windows? Use Safari, it actually works on Mac.
posted by Artw at 12:26 PM on May 28, 2009


Like Facebook, I'll wait until the "even old people are using it!" stories to appear before I bother checking this out.
posted by tommasz at 12:27 PM on May 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I can't see the video, but it seems to me like a great idea. I think what I like most about it is the free-for-all nature. This is the side of the web that MeFi shies away from. I mean, we can't even edit our own comments: how would it change our interactions if we could change not only our own, but other people's? Not to say it would be wonderful, perhaps it will result in an incoherent mess or endemic infighting. Maybe filtering interpersonal reaction is a feature of the web and not a bug. On the other hand, I'm glad someone is considering the alternative.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:28 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


If they can integrate scrabble and gchat together into one window, I'm pretty sure I'll never do anything useful for any employer ever again.
posted by I Foody at 12:29 PM on May 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


Like bwerdmuller says, this is basically Facebook without walls. Its power will be in its ability to dynamically group users and content in new & interesting ways. But that will also be its greatest danger. Walls are designed to protect the things inside them; no walls means no protection. Your data and your social network will be exposed to a whole new class of risks from giving Wave (and by extension whatever third party applets Wave allows to act through it) control of them. But hey, that's how it is when you take off the training wheels.
posted by scalefree at 12:29 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


This can be the basis for distributed, decentralized social networking, and isn't so much about redefining email as moving away from giant walled garden communication platforms like Facebook et al. The protocol is smart, and its open source approach is the right way to go about this.

Are they going to open source the backend? If not, then how is this 'decentralized' It's all on googles servers. Along with all our email, our youtube history and our medical records

Jens, Lars, and team re-imagined email and instant-messaging in a connected world, a world in which messages no longer need to be sent from one place to another, but could become a conversation in the cloud. Effectively, a message (a wave) is a shared communications space with elements drawn from email, instant

So the last 15 years were "not connected"? I mean, instant messaging seems like a pretty 'connected' thing. How is an IRC channel not a "conversation in the cloud" for example. This is just consolidating a bunch of different levels of immediacy.
posted by delmoi at 12:30 PM on May 28, 2009


> I'm actually looking forward to running Chrome, as soon as they get around to making it for the platforms I use at work and at home.

Go nuts, man. I'm posting this in Chrome for Mac right now. It's clearly not perfect and ready for the general public yet, but it's certainly usable enough.
posted by ardgedee at 12:31 PM on May 28, 2009


Was I the only person reading this who thought Google might actually be on the cusp of bringing us real-time machine-based voice translation?

Hah. I honestly just read that as: "Was I the only person reading this who thought Google might actually be on the cusp of bringing us a real time machine?"
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:31 PM on May 28, 2009


I was hoping it was a paradigm shifting way to center and interact with your varied, extant data streams.

Instead it seems like facebook+wiki. Which is pretty much, meh.
posted by oddman at 12:41 PM on May 28, 2009


Google is saying it's kind of like mail, kind of like IM, but TOTALLY DIFFERENT, and therefore better for reasons you'll figure out because you'll use the API to make it your very own!

Sharepoint has an API and you can customise it, and, well, is still Sharepoint. Possibly having an API and being customisable are not by themselves as awesome as all that.
posted by Artw at 12:47 PM on May 28, 2009


delmoi: how is this 'decentralized' It's all on googles servers

It's 'decentralized' the same way that Google Chat and Gmail are -- most people's shit might be all on Google's sweet servers, but anyone can run their own jabber and mail servers, with their own independent user account systems and data storage.

Google Wave is built on the same underlying medium that Google Chat is: XMPP. The key word you're ignorant of is federation.
posted by blasdelf at 12:54 PM on May 28, 2009


> Possibly having an API and being customisable are not by themselves as awesome as all that.

That's kind of what I meant. Although the main point is that having an API is great, but if your platform's only interesting to people who know what APIs are, you're probably not going to have the massive public uptake that you're expecting. Ultimately the system's got to be useful to people who don't give a rat's ass how computers work.
posted by ardgedee at 12:56 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


So... how's that OpenSocial thing working out?
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 12:58 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


delmoi: "So the last 15 years were "not connected"? I mean, instant messaging seems like a pretty 'connected' thing. How is an IRC channel not a "conversation in the cloud" for example. This is just consolidating a bunch of different levels of immediacy."

I'm not sure what you mean by "consolidating different levels of immediacy." The best I can guess is that you mean that Google Wave is going to connect things that happen at different rates of time such as email, instant messaging, and chats like IRC.

Even that seems like a pretty neat idea to me. I wonder at how open it could be. Imagine if you could search every IRC conversation that ever happened and add new content. I'm not sure why anyone would ever want to. It really only seems like it would be useful with some kind of search function.
posted by jefeweiss at 1:07 PM on May 28, 2009


I thought it was a man fucking a chicken, not a peeing elephant.

You have to sort of uncross your eyes and stare into the middle distance to see it.
posted by rokusan at 1:08 PM on May 28, 2009


It's 'decentralized' the same way that Google Chat and Gmail are -- most people's shit might be all on Google's sweet servers, but anyone can run their own jabber and mail servers, with their own independent user account systems and data storage.

Google Wave is built on the same underlying medium that Google Chat is: XMPP. The key word you're ignorant of is federation.


First of all it's google talk, not google chat. And it's not decentralized. If you use google talk, you can only talk to other google talk users. If you use another jabber client you can, though. But google talk is pretty trivial, you're just sending instant messages back and forth, and there isn't even any persistent storage to speak of.

Second of all XMPP is a protocol, not a 'medium' and the fact that it uses a particular protocol to send messages back and forth isn't any more interesting then the fact that it also uses TCP and IP as well. So what? The fact that you can easily talk to it is meaningless if you don't know all the semantics.

By your logic facebook is 'decentralized' because anyone can create a new facebook just by using HTML, HTTP and TCP.
posted by delmoi at 1:10 PM on May 28, 2009


delmoi: Also, another thing that irritates me about corporate hype is when people decide they need a totally new noun to describe what you'll be creating. Why not just call these things "pages" or "channels" or "page channels".

Maybe they're fans of Firefly.
posted by joedan at 1:10 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


If they can integrate scrabble and gchat together into one window, I'm pretty sure I'll never do anything useful for any employer ever again.

If you use iGoogle (the personalized search page), you can add a chat widget and a scrabble widget (though I haven't tried that scrabble widget, so I'm not sure about it).
posted by inigo2 at 1:11 PM on May 28, 2009


Let's say you are added to a conversation (a wave) that has been going on for a long time? You can be added at any relevant point, not just the end.

FIRST POST
posted by JHarris at 1:34 PM on May 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


I wonder how adding threading to MeFi is coming along?
posted by Artw at 2:01 PM on May 28, 2009


Google Wave = Riche Media Twitter = Facebook killer

Or so I heard at the SW FooCamp :)
posted by liza at 2:17 PM on May 28, 2009


I imagine a future of being completely swamped by stimulus. Wave indeed.

Seawater will kill my lawn.

Anyway, a generation from now, I suspect all the stimulus on offer-- and the opportunity for continuous ongoing conversations-- thought links? feeling links?-- with multiple parties will begin shaping human thinking patterns in interesting new ways.
posted by darth_tedious at 2:30 PM on May 28, 2009


Wave looks like something that, when implemented in an organization, will cause all productivity to grind to a halt, as everyone gets caught-up in instantly replying to the instant reply to the instant reply to the instant reply to the instant reply to the instant reply...
posted by Thorzdad at 2:46 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Awesome! Now our collective grandparents can have discussions, images, games and polls integrated into the creepy, vaguely racist chain letters they send out to all of us!

Just edit out the objectionable bits, or link directly to debunks...?
posted by sparkletone at 2:47 PM on May 28, 2009


Reminds me of the the old talk(1) command... only now all your typos are preserved forever in the google cloud for your descendants to marvel at.

"Gee, Grandpa, your typing really sucked!"

Am I the only one who thought that talk(1) was a giant step backward in communication?
posted by skippyhacker at 3:02 PM on May 28, 2009


I wonder how adding threading to MeFi is coming along?

You're leaving me in stitches!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:19 PM on May 28, 2009


As far as the 'environment' that surrounds all this communicating, can I just say, Wow, I am so deeply tired of looking at pictures of people and/or people's pictures, ugh. This internet, it's taking all the fun out of photographs.
posted by thinkpiece at 3:28 PM on May 28, 2009


I predict in the future we will have anti-spiders that we will use to obscure/destroy embarrassing information about ourselves and our relatives online, hence creating an Orwellian memory of the 1990s-2020 where NOBODY on the internet sent chain mails saying that Barack Obama was a terrorist who swore in on the Koran.

Think about it, for every group of people trying to dig up dirt on a new politician, employee, or other high profile individual, there's one huge ego that's usually solvent with cash that will do anything to protect itself. Further, there's now a huge need to hide information that's been leaked on the internet, and yet no one is doing anything to solve that gap.

I propose it be called Google STFU.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:39 PM on May 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Second of all XMPP is a protocol, not a 'medium' and the fact that it uses a particular protocol to send messages back and forth isn't any more interesting then the fact that it also uses TCP and IP as well. So what? The fact that you can easily talk to it is meaningless if you don't know all the semantics.

By your logic facebook is 'decentralized' because anyone can create a new facebook just by using HTML, HTTP and TCP.
posted by delmoi at 1:10 PM on May 28
Jesus Fucking Christ you have no idea what you're talking about. Have you ever written any applications that communicate via XMPP? At least have the courtesy to incoherently paraphrase from Wikipedia instead of just ranting unknowledgeably.

XMPP is a protocol, but the ecosystem of hosts sure as fuck provides a 'medium' for realtime communication, just like the ecosystem of mail servers provide for asynchronous communication. Google Wave's use of it is incredibly meaningful. Your quibble about knowing the semantics is even more bullshit: the example XMPP stanzas are straightforward, there's a spec being published, and interoperable server + client code being released.

Wave is decentralized because anyone can have their own account on their own private server, and can intercommunicate with users on other servers if they want to (including users@google). Just like with Jabber, just like with email.
posted by blasdelf at 4:44 PM on May 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I also find it odd that the higher-ups at Google have been badmouthing Twitter (I believe one called it "half an email client"), and yet they're also trying to mimic its best assets (chiefly, the style of communication that emerges on Twitter). It's a bit like back in middle school where there would always be that one kid hating on the latest trend, while pestering his parents for the merchandise everyone else has from that trend.

I can't see the vid, so I don't quite understand it yet, to be honest. One thing I don't quite get is what it'll actually be like, since it's acting like it will be taking up both chat and email's roles, along with some elements that sound Twitterish, with lots of overlap. Twitter and IM are mostly for text communication, which can be easily on modern hardware, especially Google's, so Google could likely offer 2 GB or so per account if it were just text and call it "unlimited." However, they also promised that it would serve email's role, along with sending pictures and presumably files, which could add up to a lot of bandwidth and storage. Would there be limits to that? Would it automatically delete old/rarely accessed files? Or would we have to manage our waves like our emails? I know space isn't an issue with Gmail, but text communication is encouraged and file sending is heavily limited (20 MB max upload), while this new service sounds like something that wants richer communication.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:54 PM on May 28, 2009


Re: This post: Seeing the tiny articles on that wiki feels vaguely like seeing a baby-sized coffin. It makes you feel so sad for what could have been.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:57 PM on May 28, 2009


Wave could hardly be less like twitter and it's been in the pipe for longer than twitter has been hot/cool.
posted by GuyZero at 5:34 PM on May 28, 2009


Wow. Best MeFi thread ever :-)

Here's the video, btw:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_UyVmITiYQ
posted by effbot at 6:10 PM on May 28, 2009


Well, I'm excited about it, at least.

I was a huge fan of GMail from the outset, especially conversation view (I'm still slightly taken aback by the vehemence of people who want email to stay Like It Was In 1984, though I guess it's to be expected) But I've also wanted a universal inbox that broke down the walls between email/IM/forums/doc sharing for some time, and this definitely looks like it.

It feels like it'll depend on not treating it like email, and starting "waves" among big numbers of friends, but get the balance right and you've got private MeFi threads for friends. With images.
posted by fightorflight at 6:15 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


The left 2/3rds looks like a more jaunty version of gmail, and the right side is, what, where you type the emails and view pics...yes? Maybe my imagination isn't all there, but a re-prettying of gmail isn't all that exciting.
posted by zardoz at 6:16 PM on May 28, 2009


Maybe my imagination isn't all there, but a re-prettying of gmail isn't all that exciting.

Well, I guess you could watch the video, and see if you still think this is just gmail with a pretty skin when you see things moving...
posted by effbot at 6:22 PM on May 28, 2009


Welcome to the social.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:33 PM on May 28, 2009


At least it's not an entirely made up word like "Knol"

Whatever happened to that? It seems to still be out there, with some random content, but I've never seen a Knol page come up in a Google search. Which means I've also never seen one linked in the wild.
posted by smackfu at 7:46 PM on May 28, 2009


Well, I guess you could watch the video, and see if you still think this is just gmail with a pretty skin when you see things moving...

I would if I could, but I can't. I'll revise my opinion (if necessary) once I can.
posted by zardoz at 9:17 PM on May 28, 2009


No one referenced this yet? Because it really had better not be a big gambit to explain the evils of Nazism.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:27 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


The shadow under the Wave logo on their T-shirts looked like sweat stains.

I have nothing more to add.
posted by mazola at 10:31 PM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


On reflection, demoing a preview release? It probably was sweat.
posted by mazola at 11:25 PM on May 28, 2009


Generation Attention Deficit Disorder lurches forward with another scrip for mashup meds, and I feel a little older and more bewildered.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:59 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would if I could, but I can't. I'll revise my opinion (if necessary) once I can.

Well, I did post a direct link to a youtube video of the presentation before I wrote that... it's still there.
posted by effbot at 2:04 AM on May 29, 2009


I don't know about Google Wave, but this thread's convinced me to start using Google Notebook.
posted by brookedel at 3:15 AM on May 29, 2009


I still don't have a clear idea of what Google Wave is. I started watching the 1.3 hour long video of a douche with a goatee rambling about "products". No good. I skimmed the site and found a lot of talk about OMGAPIS!!!! but no description of what Application I'd be Programming my Interface with. I zipped through here looking for some high-faved comment putting into a few sentences. Nada.

Google Wave is going to be big. And by "big" I mean "we'll never hear about it again."
posted by DU at 4:42 AM on May 29, 2009


I still don't have a clear idea of what Google Wave is.
It's a message board.
Jesus Fucking Christ you have no idea what you're talking about. Have you ever written any applications that communicate via XMPP? At least have the courtesy to incoherently paraphrase from Wikipedia instead of just ranting unknowledgeably.

XMPP is a protocol, but the ecosystem of hosts sure as fuck provides a 'medium' for realtime communication, just like the ecosystem of mail servers provide for asynchronous communication.
What? other then that you're angry, it's not clear at all what you're talking about. You make it sound like the fact that it uses XMPP means you can take the whole thing and host it on your own server, which makes as much sense as saying the fact that facebook uses HTTP means you can take the whole thing and run that on your own server. And that, of course, is absurd. if Google is offering true data portability then that's something, but it has nothing to do with XMPP. You could do the same thing with AtomPub, for example.

Really the idea that using one particular protocol over some others means that this thing is "so open!" is just ridiculous, about as ridiculous as meaningless buzzwords like 'federation' and 'ecosystem'
posted by delmoi at 6:42 AM on May 29, 2009


Jesus Fucking Christ you have no idea what you're talking about. Have you ever written any applications that communicate via XMPP? At least have the courtesy to incoherently paraphrase from Wikipedia instead of just ranting unknowledgeably.

Wow. A code monkey defending his or her specialised knowledge base in a reflexively irate manner. Shocking.
posted by modernnomad at 6:50 AM on May 29, 2009


OH NO YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE DISSING THE CODE MONKEYS.
posted by Artw at 7:11 AM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's a message board.

The Future Was In 1996.
posted by DU at 8:23 AM on May 29, 2009


> You make it sound like the fact that it uses XMPP means you can take the whole thing and host it on your own server, which makes as much sense as saying the fact that facebook uses HTTP means you can take the whole thing and run that on your own server.

You can run your own Wave server. Try a different angle of attack.
posted by ardgedee at 8:31 AM on May 29, 2009


100+ comments and no ones made a Stevie Smith reference?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:46 AM on May 29, 2009


Was I the only person reading this who thought Google might actually be on the cusp of bringing us real-time machine-based voice translation? Now that'd be cause for celebration. This Wave, not so much.

Well, it's not voice, but the real-time machine-based text translation isn't too shabby.
posted by flashboy at 9:21 AM on May 29, 2009


Was I the only person reading this who thought Google might actually be on the cusp of bringing us real-time machine-based voice translation?

Goog-411 is getting there. Definitely improving from when it first launched.
posted by inigo2 at 10:36 AM on May 29, 2009


Sure it looks interesting, but it's no Google Killer!!!!
posted by naju at 11:25 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sure it looks interesting, but it's no Google Killer!!!!

zing zing zing zing bing!
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on May 29, 2009


It looks interesting. Even as a guy who lives/breathes SharePoint+Groove+Outlook+OCS this looks very interesting.
posted by jkaczor at 11:44 AM on May 29, 2009


Heh - Bing = Bing Is Not Google
posted by jkaczor at 11:45 AM on May 29, 2009


> When they attempt to invent buy something new (Orkut, Jaiku, Dodgeball, Notebook, etc)
FTFY.
posted by _dario at 4:37 PM on May 29, 2009


Well, I did post a direct link to a youtube video of the presentation before I wrote that... it's still there.

effbot, thanks for the link, and I like wasting time on the Interwebs as much as the next guy, but two hours? Maybe you could tell me when the Google Wave part starts?
posted by zardoz at 6:22 PM on May 29, 2009


but two hours?

80 minutes, and it's pretty packed with information. Quick guide (approximate numbers):
posted by effbot at 3:10 AM on May 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


(There was supposed to be a new line between "robot" and "(pretty much" in that last line. MetaFilter's preview isn't quite as live or wysiwyg as Wave's... :-)
posted by effbot at 4:01 AM on May 30, 2009


Bottom line is it is an extremely cool system that could not have been easy to create (many have tried). The reason it confuses a lot of people as to what it can do is because it can do a lot. If there is good third-party developer takeup of this, we're going to see all sorts of pretty impressive and innovative things being built on top of it.

I don't know if it's going to Change the Web or anything but as a programming geek I'm pretty excited.

I really recommend the folks have a watch through the youtube video, imho it's worth it.
posted by vanar sena at 3:00 PM on May 30, 2009


If you can't sum it up in one sentence that makes people go "wow" (not "huh?"), it will never catch on.
posted by smackfu at 4:28 PM on May 30, 2009


I agree, smackfu, the elevator pitch needs to be tuned a little before the launch. I suppose

Collaboratively create, edit and publish documents containing any kind of data, including data from other websites, in real time.

will have to do. My bullet-point laundry list above was more to clear some misconceptions in the preceding comments.

That said, a relatively new concept is going to take time to make itself felt in the mainstream, just like the concept of wikis did. And wikis are comparatively a really simple concept.

Here's what wikipedia has for wiki:

A wiki is a website that uses wiki software, allowing the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked (often databased) Web pages, using a simplified markup language.

I could probably explain what that means to a non-technical user, but I wouldn't want to. And yet - Wikipedia.
posted by vanar sena at 5:00 PM on May 30, 2009


I've been reading as much as I can about Wave, and I am cautiously excited: it's a next step in the evolution of Groupware; if anything it reminds me of Groove, who failed to take off despite great expectations. Wave seems to be avoiding some of those mistakes (federation, free implementation, open source), but Groupware is notoriously hard to get right.

However, the stakes are huge: email is broken, and so is document-sharing and knowledge discovery within companies and groups. If this can help fix email and lead to a better knowledge management tool, it will revolutionalize software --if not this exact implementation, the next one.
posted by costas at 7:32 AM on May 31, 2009


One of the parts that hardest to get right is the balance between usability & security. Security models for this sort of application are a nightmare. Facebook (mostly) manages to fake it by working in a closed, walled environment. Even at that there've been instances of malware spreading through its pseudo-email system. Add virus-laden emails, Office docs, PDFs & a target-rich environment of all your family, social & business contacts complete with email addresses & a payload of metadata about each of them to the mix & it's a hacker's holiday. And that's before you get into vulnerabilities in the scripting API.
posted by scalefree at 8:56 AM on May 31, 2009


Ah, after watching the video, I'm really impressed. It'd be interesting to see how well independent wave servers take off. If anything this is a direct shot across the bow to Microsoft's Office platform, much more than Google Docs. If there's one thing business want (and need) it is a great degree of control, monitor employees, etc. Microsoft's platform works great because you can stash a doc away without really any need for IT or a file system. Microsoft's implementation, moving the file server to a web server with some application hooks, works well, but still lacks a lot of collaborative abilities. Really everything sort of has to be contained within the document you're working on, and Sharepoint effectively is a easy to hop onto file share with some basic collaboration.

With this, I can see an architect collaborating with an engineer on a set of drawing displayed in a Google Earth interface with an application extension provided by Autodesk to display and redline the documents. It would still require the document creation in a traditional setup (the latency here is terrible, nowhere what you'd need for doing design work). But it works great for passing around completed documents and collaborating on them.

Really the traditional set of Microsoft Office tools are a commodity now, and this system treats it as such and puts the emphasis on collaboration. The federation aspect let's corporations keep their valuable spreadsheets on corporate owned equipment, I'm really impressed.
posted by geoff. at 4:54 PM on May 31, 2009


For those who are saying that if you can't explain it in one sentence it will never catch on, try to explain to me why computers are so cool in a single sentence. As if I am currently living in the year 1950.

I can play games? Like poker? Ok... Oh you mean from a distance? But I need to be able to spot tells! Why not just play over a phone!? Besides, I want to invite my buddies over to have some drinks and poker's a good excuse. What the hell is a first person shooter?

I can type documents? What's wrong with a type writer?

"wikipedia"? You mean that anyone can edit an encylopedia? That must be full of garbage and wrong information.

Facebook? If I want to talk to friends or share pictures I'll just call them on the phone, invite them over, or mail my pictures to them.

Not everything cool needs to be explainable in one sentence. Whether this will turn out to be cool or useful will depend upon how quickly it is adopted and the extensions people make for it. I can see a lot of potential for it though. If it were something that could only be used on Google I would say that it will definitely fail. But I am hopeful with their Federation communication algorithm and that they are apparently open sourcing much of their code.

----

I have a friend that is in grad school right now so she sometimes writes a lot of papers and she'll often want me to help her edit it. I think this would be great for that purpose. Group projects would have been greatly simplified. I know my senior design project final paper would have been much more easily created/edited if we had this tool just a few years ago and we had thought to use it. So there's one application I would be interested in.
posted by Green With You at 6:15 PM on May 31, 2009


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