Google Wave

Almost two months ago, Nigel Tao posted on his blog offering Google Wave invites to the GNOME community . I commented and requested some invites for the Documentation Team, with Nigel graciously granting the request, and he asked for some feedback after using Wave for the last month and a half or so.

Some of the feedback that I shared with him, in no particular order:

  • We in the Docs team have used Wave to do document planning. (Before writing anything, the most important thing you can do is plan, plan plan). Wave has been really useful that each member of the team will edit the Wave with the topics for the help file we plan to write, and then use the reply feature in the Wave to add comments. Especially being a distributed team, with two of us in the US and 2 in Europe, it’s been helpful. A wiki page would work about the same, but the fact that you can have the main Wave used for the document and see the feedback and comments in-line is nice.
  • We really haven’t used Wave for real-time collaboration, with the exception of doing last month’s meeting minutes for our monthly team meeting. I do like Wave for a use case like that better than Gobby, especially with Wave’s ability to add bullets and formatting.
  • One nice thing about Wave when doing documentation planning was how easy it was to add the lead developer of an app we were doing the planning for. He was then able to review what we were planning, and add feedback and suggestions.
  • One of the challenges in using Wave at this point in time, is the limited number of people using it. I think as it expands and grows, the use cases and adoption will grow exponentially.
  • Other things I’ve used Wave for include some of the GNOME Marketing hackfest planning and planning. It’s helpful, and as mentioned above, I prefer Wave over a wiki, especially when formatting text such as bullets.

One thing that took me a while to figure out, which I finally figured out with a suggestion from a friend via Twitter, was how to do public searches. I’m interested in buying a Droid phone, and I did a search for “Droid” waves which was pretty cool when the search results came back and I could see all the public Waves about Droid.

Is Wave an email killer? In my opinion, not yet, but it has potential. Wave, to me, has awesome potential for group communication, but I’m not sure I’d use it over email for one to one communication.

(And yes, I’m aware of the irony of using a “proprietary” tool to do open source work. It was a test, and I like doing stuff on the cutting edge, so no comments in the blog about this please).

Thanks again Nigel!

Paul Cutler
Father. Husband. Vinyl Music Lover. Football fan. Python student. He / him.