First Impressions of Google Wave

I got a Google Wave invite and didn’t really know what to do. I was quite lost when I first logged on. It took me about a week before I actually started exploring and figuring it out. I am still at it. Here’s what you can do when you get a Google Wave invite.

  1. Add the person who sent you the invite in your Contact list.
  2. Start a wave thanking the person who sent the invite. This is getting your feet wet.
  3. I think the Contact list shows your Google contacts who already have Wave account. I am assuming this since Wave showed me only my limited contacts. I could be wrong.
  4. Start a wave (more like a conversation really) with someone you know.
  5. You may be added to other waves by your contacts. Join the conversation with them.
  6. And when you get to invite others to Wave, send out invites to people who will join you in the conversation.

I started a wave to discuss what Google Wave is all about. I have added folks to the same wave as they I sent out new invites to more people I knew. My first impressions about Google Wave:

  • Wave seems an enhanced collaborative tool. It’s got elements of discussion forum, IM, Twitter, email all in one.
  • Not for the weak hearted. Takes some time get used to. And you have to actually start using it to understand more about how it functions.
  • Waves with many people can get long and confusing. Sure, you can play back every step how the wave was created, but I think most will just read the wave top down. And if the wave is long then it is a lot of reading.
  • There’s no ‘email alert’ if you add others to a wave, or when you are added by others to a wave. I felt some people were ignoring me when didn’t respond to my waves, when it was just that they didn’t know a new wave was started with them included in it. You need to visit the Google Wave site to see what’s new. I think the intent is that it will eventually replace email (perhaps, who knows). And you don’t get an email alert when receive an email… duh! I was however expecting an email alert on any wave activity, like the one I get when there’s Facebook activity on my account.
  • You can see what others are typing as they type. Looks cool initially but gets irritating after a while. It is very hard to focus on screen when characters are moving around. And you can see exactly what mistakes the other person is making and how they are correcting them. Very disconcerting!
  • There’s no title or subject assigned to a wave. A little hard to keep track of what the wave is about based on the preview of the fist message in the wave.
  • When a wave has been updated with new messages, it is highlighted (shows up as Bold). You need to navigate the whole wave to figure out what’s new on that wave. Doesn’t directly show what’s new in the wave.
  • You can’t delete waves. You can only Unfollow them. Not sure what happens if everyone unfollows a wave.
  • Apparently there are many command line actions that do many things on Google Wave. I didn’t bother trying them out. Hopefully Wave will be released with more WYSIWYG commands. We’ve been too spoilt to bother with command line actions.

An interesting conversation on our wave:


I have wondered about one thing though – one of the features of eMail is its ability to communicate across providers… I don’t what @what you are… I can still send a mail… what happens to wave…? Can we communicate with non-wave-ers?

And if we can’t – isn’t wave against the whole funda of email…?

(either that – or it is being monopolistic)


Interesting point. If it turns out that you can’t communicate with other email address using Wave, then my guess is that Google Wave will not succeed. I am guessing that to get the full benefit of Wave, one will need Google Wave account. And I am sure Google will come out with a way to map other domains to Google Wave, much like it does currently with Gmail. It is an interesting business model. It will also force other email providers to come up with better email features. I can imagine Microsoft will start working on the next level of Outlook. Even now there are features that are available only in Outlook.


Poll – Do you think Google Wave will force other email providers to change the way email services are provided?

Yes – 4 | No – 1 | Maybe – 1


Google Wave may not be able to force a change in email services. However, it would definitely affect instant messaging and collaboration.

So there you are… still early days for Google Wave to say which way it will go.