Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Google Wave - a saviour to fragmented conversation

22 minutes in to the Google Wave demo and I see the massive impact this is going to have. I recently wrote up a comment on Sue Waters' blog regarding the reasons why Twitter is not better than comments, but it changes the conversation due to massive fragmentation (well, twitter is the not the only culprit, but without trackbacks it expedites dispersion of the conversation). Now, with wave, we can have the best of both worlds: An easy method for containing and collating the conversation, but allowing the freedom to access the conversation at your leisure using the tools that you want. It's the philosophy of RSS, but applied to the whole conversation.

You know what this means? Death to twitter. Life to blogs as conversation starters!

Your wave reader will totally replace the RSS reader as it gets around that messy issue of checking separate RSS threads for comments, or missing a jump in the conversation over to a new blog. Hoorah!

25 minutes in and the death toll rises. SMS can disappear forever! Unfortunately it also means that I'll have to seriously think about a data plan for my next phone as well as wireless.

29 minutes in and I'm now regretting spending 2 hours last night setting up a Diigo account instead of working on my assignment. Actually why am I wasting more time typing this up? Deep down I know why; I'm excited. I'm researching stuff and learning through my PLE and I'm enjoying it.

30 minutes in and playback now reminds me of a wiki history, but in a much more simple and elegant interface. I'm liking it!

I like the freedom of interjecting a comment into a large document (like an embedded discussion page of a wiki), but can you clean it up for proper presentation?

Heh, wait a bit and they cover that too: make a clean copy of the wave. One simple step now handling a number of different outcomes. A copy of the wave has the potential to break the conversation again, but since it's much easier to contribute to the existing conversation rather than intentionally making another copy of the conversation, I would expect that most conversations would remain intact. I see a great need to link the copy back to the original though. Not just for merging waves as discussed, but also as an embedded implementation of trackbacks and trackforwards. Actually taking it past 34 minutes they are thinking more of a source control situation for merging multiple waves. Even neater.

I was expecting instant editing from multiple parties, but after seeing the implementation it is much more fluid than what I was anticipating. It also opens up a question about the history. Each time you type it must be sending to the server and anticipating a revision point. As soon as someone also starts typing it would be generating revision points for possibly a character at a time. I guess that would be the atomic unit they would store the change in, but have a way of linking multiple revisions by the same person into one displayed revision as the basic model. Playback is going to be fun to play around with ...

Embedding waves as droppable objects works well, but I'm not sure whether it's a replacement for tracking where a wave has been linked to. Nope, now that I think about it it's only a subset. You would definitely need a way to show all the waves or endpoints where this wave has been used. I'm thinking a different type of search routine maybe? Like a Google analytics view of a wave?

Moving on to extensions and the revision system becomes a little more clearer that it has to be making revisions on each character typed, because they would be the triggers for the robots to analyse the stream in real time (well, near-real time). Robots as participants sounds like a neat implementation of extensions actually, but I'm getting nervous about malicious robots. Or worse, trojans.

Oh. Wow.
Ok, Rosy takes the cake. I've got goosebumps. As soon as he added Rosy I'm thinking Rosy? RosettaStone? translation? can't be!
Oh. Wow.

Kinda skipped over federation, but since I've tackled something like that back at QX21, I knew more or less what it meant. Big thing will be implementation though. Even at St Luke's we could easily replace Exchange with a wave server and have more or less the same functionality, but with all that additional waviness added to the mix. Hmm, incoming emails. I'm guessing one of the very first robots will be email to wave. Maily? Just did a Google search, nothing showing for that term. Won't be long though I guess. What else is there? Outlook calendar, shared calendars, booking timetables. Hmm, maybe Exchange is going to be around for a little while longer. Federation makes all the difference to me for bringing wave into a corporate environment compared to relying on Google docs or another external source.

Well, it's all over. I feel like I'm sitting here soaking it in, taking note of my surroundings when I heard of Google wave. Pivotal moment? Pivotal moment in communication. Pivotal moment in collaboration. Pivotal moment in eLearning.