I’ll keep this short. These past couple days I’ve been experimenting with Google Wave, Google’s solution to e-mail “chat”, the back-and-forth asymmetrical use of e-mail as a means of realtime communication and collaboration between multiple recipients.
It’s a good idea, and it essentially mirrors the functionality of a forum, albeit a high tech forum with lots more capabilities.
Although Google Wave maintains the typical Google simplicity of its application here, I feel as though the people this might benefit most will be the least likely to use it.
For example, I am currently working on a federal case where a single attorney is constantly e-mailing everybody about issues pertaining to the case, often with many drafts and revisions between several people — sounds like a clear cut case for Google Wave, right? I have no doubt in my mind that Google Wave would dramatically improve collaboration and organization for this exact kind of situation. That is Google’s mission statement, isn’t it? Here’s where it falls short: the kind of person who uses e-mail as a substitute for a forum or instant messaging is probably not likely to seek out options such as Google Wave, let alone take the time to learn its most useful core features which would benefit them most.
And that’s too bad, because Google has a winner here; a platform which takes the most useful aspects of a forum, the realtime capabilities of instant messaging and the convenience of e-mail all into one single page which can be interacted by virtually limitless participants. It’s a real evolutionary step for communication and collaboration.
All that said, I think Google Wave is going to rely heavily on IT departments to increase awareness. For all we know, the final version of Google Wave could look quite a bit different than what i’ve shown here.