Will Google Wave Replace Email and Chat?

Has the Google Wave caught you yet?

Many have now received an invitation for the preview of Google Wave.

If no one you know has an invite for you, you may be able to request one direct from Google. The “preview” part means it is not all finished yet. You may expect some bugs and problems (hey, even Gmail went down for while in 2009).

Ship making waves on Lake Michigan

Is Google Wave the wave of the future?

What is Google Wave and why would you want it?

Wave is Google’s proposal for a new type of email. It combines email and chat in a forum-like thread. Extensions add features like maps, games, video, and many other options.

Wave really shows promise as a useful collaboration tool.

With a few extensions, I could see it having much of the features of Microsoft Groove. You start a wave just like an email; however, each person added to the wave can interact live just like in a chat room. You can play back a Wave almost like a movie to find out who made what changes or replies at what point in the Wave. It is hard to explain but easy to see once you use it.

What is not so great about Google Wave?

Well just like an email can be forwarded to someone you may not want it to be, anyone in the Wave can add someone else from their contacts. It is possible to edit someone else’s reply (although you are then both marked as having made or edited the reply). I would like some kind of way of making a Wave private so another person not originally invited is added and a way to mark a reply or blip (the official name for each reply or part of a Wave) non-editable as an option.

Google Wave does not work in all browsers.

Wave works in Firefox and Chrome. IE does not support HTML yet so a Wave  frame must be loaded before it works in Internet Explorer. They don’t seem to recommend that (try it yourself to see). As of now, I do not believe there are any smartphones that can handle Wave (I nearly got it to work in Opera Mini on a Blackberry, but could not read the Waves). My guess is there will be Wave specific apps before the browsers will work.

The biggest problem is the Wave users.

Actually, the lack of Wave users. There aren’t too many people using it yet. Annoyingly, some of the people I have sent invites to have not even signed up. Some that have signed up have yet to reply to the Wave I sent them. I might as well have spent my invites on total strangers for all the good it has done. At least they could have passed on invites to people that might have used Wave.

So, will Google Wave become a new internet standard?

Maybe not as Google Wave. “What!” you say. Google has released the Wave code as open source. They are allowing other  companies (even Microsoft) to use it to make it universal. It is something everyone can take and use (like email). I think this is its strength as far as becoming a new standard (well, Microsoft rarely decides to use open formats for anything but prefers to introduce its own standard that fails to work even with other MS products). Time will tell.

I see much potential in Wave.

I have family members that spend a lot of emails talking about the family tree, family photos, and family reunions. These are the types of things that Wave would work fantastic for. If you have to organize an event, a Wave with all those involved is simply a no-brainer. It could even replace typical chat programs.

Surf’s up.

Have you used Wave? What do you think?