So, Google Wave makes people unproductive? Says Robert Scoble in a good post where he writes down his first impressions with the new service. Robert says:
It is noisy, but the noise often happens way down in a wave deep in your inbox.
This is far far worse than email. (New email always shows up at the top of my inbox, where Google Wave can bring me new stuff deep down at the bottom of my inbox).
It’s far far worse than Twitter (where new stuff ALWAYS shows up at top). It’s even far worse than FriendFeed, which my friends always said was too noisy. At least there when you write a comment on an item it pops to the top of the page.
And, worse, when I look at my Google Wave page I see dozens of people all typing to me in real time. I don’t know where to look and keeping up with this real time noise is less like email, which is like tennis (hit one ball at a time) and more like dodging a machine gun of tennis balls. Much more mentally challenging
This doesn’t come as a real surprise. Making a conversation real-time can create an overflow of information. But I think it is too soon to assume that Wave will crash on a beach. I once wrote down 10 reasons why Google Wave would change the way we communicate. Google Wave will become far more important than the first demo/service we see people struggling with now. It’s a bit odd to quote myself in a post, but I still like what I’ve written about this earlier:
Whereas services like e-mail, instant messaging and social networks always have been build on the premise of a walled garden business model, Google Wave can become the new communication structure services can develop upon. It is set up from the start as an open source project with a clear focus on development API’s. I’m sure that Google will launch a Google Wave service at some point that will attract many users. But it also allows any other service to use that same paradigm to implement unified online communication.
Google has not only spent time and energy making sure Wave can suck content into the platform, it has spent as much time and energy making sure it can get out too! Farewell destination based business models. Farewell walled gardens. If Wave gets adapted, it will put the user in control, and that is exactly what we need to do to break out of our current web 2.0 boundaries. That is what makes this development so remarkable.
Robert runs into the problem that online conversations, the way he currently runs them, aren’t really possible in real-time. It’s just too much input that needs to be processed, even when you have a 30 inch screen in front of you. That is not a real problem though. Google Wave is a technology that can be decentralized. It doesn’t need to be used in a public ‘conversation’ with thousands of people. Google Wave will help us scale down the conversation, which btw is the most obvious way to get rid of noise. It helps us move away from destiny based web services. And, Google Wave has taken as much effort to allow you to export data out of the service, as you can bring in.
Robert ends his post with tips to scale down the noise, fitting perfectly.
Google Wave is a plumbing project for the web. We need to start using it for what it is or can become. It has the potential to add a new communication layer on top that will not limit our conversations to a single service. I think that is the biggest win for the web in quite a while.
Update: While I pressed the publish button, I came across this good post that is making a similar point.