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Google Wave and the nature of conversation

Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
edited December 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
I just got in on that Google Wave action, and it is great, but mostly I find the potential change in online conversation habits to be very interesting.

Let me frame it for you: here on the PA forums, I find myself occasionally discussing three separate issues with another forumer in three separate threads, and then meta-discussing our discussions in the chat thread or in PMs. We follow entirely different conversational paths in these threads, even while knowing that we are about to discuss something else in another thread. It is a fascinating parallel conversation model.

What Google Wave seems to do is make that exact parallel conversation occur in one place, because as you wave with someone, you are not even necessarily watching what they write and then replying, as you would in an exchange of instant messages. Neither are you reading through a thread on a forum and then inserting a reply at the end of the thread.

Eventually, a conversation splits into multiple threads. Issues that were not immediately addressed can be responded to while the other participant(s) pursue other issues, which you can in turn address at your leisure. GWave also updates you about replies as you receive them, allowing you to monitor the conversation's diverging paths. You can be talking to someone without actually being talking directly to them, as their focus is on a different aspect of the conversation.

In effect, it produces (or at least, approaches) a heretofore unreachable thing: a complete conversation. Every conversation seems to have potential branches of discussion that are never explored, places where one line of thought is sacrificed in order to pursue another one. If you finish one branch, you might move back to another one, but too often the conversation changes entirely into something else, or the previous branches are forgotten.

The fact that this takes place over time, and not just in one single instance like a chat, means that these conversations can grow and grow and grow in multiple directions, and eventually begin to interconnect and reference each other.

Language is generally linear. You start, you read forward, and then you get to the end of that text. GWave seems to really be the first organically non-linear text that is easy to use, and I think it might well change the way its users interact online.

I'd like to hear people's descriptions of their Google Wave experiences as they relate to conversation and flow of information and use of language, and if they've noticed anything strange or interesting or new.

Evil Multifarious on
Inquisitor wrote: »
I fucking hate you Canadians.
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Posts

  • EtiowsaEtiowsa TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Is google wave open to the public yet? One of my professors is in on it, and he said it was invitation only.

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  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    It's invitation only but I figure there will be enough users soon, since people on PA are the exact type to dangle people over bridges and extort invites.

    That's how I got mine.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Wave, judging from the presentation video, looks to be so different from how we have communicated in the past that I don't think anyone - including Google - can anticipate what will come of it. It is an extremely ambitious project for them (although Google is no stranger to ambition). I look forward to being able to get in on the action.

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  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I am a huge fan of the ideas behind Wave, but I have no idea what the extent of the possibilities are. I've been interested in how improvements in communication can affect systems like government and the like, not to mention day-to-day life. New ways of communicating and organizing information fascinate the hell out of me.

    I'm also really interested in having a similar platform for many applications. I think a significant barrier to people adopting new social media (Facebook, Twitter, message boards, whatever) is the signing in process and the myriad formats and contexts that can throw people off. My affinity for the PA board's thread style makes me not appreciate other boards for example. And when I sign up for other boards, it's just one more thing to have to keep track of.

    If there was something that could tie everything together, that seems incredibly significant. I don't know if Wave is that thing (having not experienced it, I just pour over articles about it.)

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  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I am a huge fan of the ideas behind Wave, but I have no idea what the extent of the possibilities are. I've been interested in how improvements in communication can affect systems like government and the like, not to mention day-to-day life. New ways of communicating and organizing information fascinate the hell out of me.

    I'm also really interested in having a similar platform for many applications. I think a significant barrier to people adopting new social media (Facebook, Twitter, message boards, whatever) is the signing in process and the myriad formats and contexts that can throw people off. My affinity for the PA board's thread style makes me not appreciate other boards for example. And when I sign up for other boards, it's just one more thing to have to keep track of.

    If there was something that could tie everything together, that seems incredibly significant. I don't know if Wave is that thing (having not experienced it, I just pour over articles about it.)

    Well, Wave has two things going for it in that regard. First is that wave servers can communicate with one another, so that if (for example) PA's forums were converted somehow into Wave software you could log into Google Wave and still communicate with PA Wave.

    The other is, of course, Wave's extensibility. So even if PA didn't convert to Wave software someone could probably write some sort of tool that would make it easier to keep up with threads.

    If there is one lesson to take away from the last few years of user-created content is that there is no telling what people can come up with. Actually, thinking about it, didn't the original presentation video show it interfacing with Twitter or am I misremembering?

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  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Yeah, there was interaction with both Facebook and Twitter, if I recall.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    My public speaking professor likes to talk about how the thinks technologies like TV, cell phones and the Internet have harmed communication; I wonder what he would think of this?

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  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    My public speaking professor likes to talk about how the thinks technologies like TV, cell phones and the Internet have harmed communication; I wonder what he would think of this?

    That's like saying technologies like flight have harmed transportation.

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  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    My public speaking professor likes to talk about how the thinks technologies like TV, cell phones and the Internet have harmed communication; I wonder what he would think of this?

    Well, people aren't bowling in groups anymore.

    Of course, I think Putnam is full of shit. I would buy an argument that TV harms social discourse, but the Internet? Hell, I find much more intelligent discourse on political and social issues RIGHT HERE than I would anywhere near me in real life.

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  • KurnDerakKurnDerak Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Tomanta wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    My public speaking professor likes to talk about how the thinks technologies like TV, cell phones and the Internet have harmed communication; I wonder what he would think of this?

    Well, people aren't bowling in groups anymore.

    Of course, I think Putnam is full of shit. I would buy an argument that TV harms social discourse, but the Internet? Hell, I find much more intelligent discourse on political and social issues RIGHT HERE than I would anywhere near me in real life.

    I would say it's a give and take. Communication in person is better than over the internet, though the people you can find on the internet can be better to communicate with than people in person. You just simply have a larger selection of people, and on here a better chance of finding at least semi-intelligent people capable of forming sentences.

  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Tomanta wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    My public speaking professor likes to talk about how the thinks technologies like TV, cell phones and the Internet have harmed communication; I wonder what he would think of this?

    Well, people aren't bowling in groups anymore.

    Of course, I think Putnam is full of shit. I would buy an argument that TV harms social discourse, but the Internet? Hell, I find much more intelligent discourse on political and social issues RIGHT HERE than I would anywhere near me in real life.

    Now that I'm thinking about it, he really doesn't say that much negative about the Internet (other than "bloggers should be held accountable if they commit libel, slander, or distortion of the facts").

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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Tomanta wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    My public speaking professor likes to talk about how the thinks technologies like TV, cell phones and the Internet have harmed communication; I wonder what he would think of this?

    Well, people aren't bowling in groups anymore.

    Of course, I think Putnam is full of shit. I would buy an argument that TV harms social discourse, but the Internet? Hell, I find much more intelligent discourse on political and social issues RIGHT HERE than I would anywhere near me in real life.

    I never really quite understood his point there, because he seemed to be focusing on activities that, while social, may be falling out of favour for other reasons. Nobody shot paintballs at shit in the 50's but you don't see dissertations about what a travesty that is. Meanwhile newer forms of media are creating similar communities, just ones that are different. Not to mention the upsurge in the amount of charitable volunteerism that exists in our generation when compared to previous ones and abloo.

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  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Wasn't there a neat study that showed how the rise of IM corresponded with a decrease in quality and clarity of expressing complex ideas in written form?

  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Robman wrote: »
    Wasn't there a neat study that showed how the rise of IM corresponded with a decrease in quality and clarity of expressing complex ideas in written form?

    There was a level from which the quality and clarity of expressing complex ideas in written form could sink from? I mean, seriously? Read some ye olde journals. People being shitty at writing and expressing themselves isn't anything new.

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  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I mean worse then usual. Anyways it's 2:30 AM AST and I have no reason to be awake, time to stop jibber-jabbering on D&D and to pass yonder fuck out

  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I went bowling for my birthday like last week with a big group. We had to wait in line for like 20 minutes because there were so many other groups of people there.

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  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    moniker wrote: »
    Robman wrote: »
    Wasn't there a neat study that showed how the rise of IM corresponded with a decrease in quality and clarity of expressing complex ideas in written form?

    There was a level from which the quality and clarity of expressing complex ideas in written form could sink from? I mean, seriously? Read some ye olde journals. People being shitty at writing and expressing themselves isn't anything new.

    My ability to write has done nothing but improve since I started conversing online. I was never absolutely terrible, likely given my background as a heavy reader, but I'm extremely confident in my abilities these days, and can crank out papers on pretty much anything in a really short time. The internet has done nothing but refine my ability to put ideas, complex or otherwise, into text.

    He said, suddenly acutely aware of the possbility of ironic poor writing on his part.

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  • CleonicusCleonicus Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    KurnDerak wrote: »
    Tomanta wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    My public speaking professor likes to talk about how the thinks technologies like TV, cell phones and the Internet have harmed communication; I wonder what he would think of this?

    Well, people aren't bowling in groups anymore.

    Of course, I think Putnam is full of shit. I would buy an argument that TV harms social discourse, but the Internet? Hell, I find much more intelligent discourse on political and social issues RIGHT HERE than I would anywhere near me in real life.

    I would say it's a give and take. Communication in person is better than over the internet, though the people you can find on the internet can be better to communicate with than people in person. You just simply have a larger selection of people, and on here a better chance of finding at least semi-intelligent people capable of forming sentences.

    In terms of quality of information, I find communication better on the internet than in person. On the internet, you can have multiple conversations at the same time, clarify what you are saying before actually saying it, and do quick research on your topic. In person, I find that jokes tend to fly better because people read your non-verbal communications to pick up on jokes, sarcasm, and etc. However emotionally, hearing someone's voice is better than reading their words.

    You may want to link the 80 minute long Wave demo in the OP. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_UyVmITiYQ&feature=player_embedded

    Oh, and what's a poster gotta do to around here to get an invite? :)
    Spoiler:

    Debate 'n' DeHockey team: Astronauts
  • LindenLinden Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Cleonicus wrote: »
    Oh, and what's a poster gotta do to around here to get an invite? :)
    Spoiler:

    You watch the thread over at Moe's! And you read the bloody OP, because people seem to have decided that doing so is not for them.

    What if this weren't a rhetorical question?
  • CleonicusCleonicus Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Linden wrote: »
    Cleonicus wrote: »
    Oh, and what's a poster gotta do to around here to get an invite? :)
    Spoiler:

    You watch the thread over at Moe's! And you read the bloody OP, because people seem to have decided that doing so is not for them.

    You meant this thread: http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=96191

    I would say PA has too many sub-forums, but then I think about what it would look like without any sub-forums.

    Debate 'n' DeHockey team: Astronauts
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    This is really cool. I, like Mike during one of the podcasts, enjoy using new interfaces. User-friendly applications that make stuff efficient and simple is my idea of advancement to the next step of technology (and in this case, communication).

    What are the chances that major business and organizations would get in on this eventually? Because it would solve a lot of problems with separate programs used individually for the same purpose.

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  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt Damn you, eidetic memory! Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Robman wrote: »
    Wasn't there a neat study that showed how the rise of IM corresponded with a decrease in quality and clarity of expressing complex ideas in written form?

    Which would be contradicted by another study showing how such things have increased, given the marked increase in using written content as a communication medium.

    Origin ID: Null_Cypher
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  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    The following is all my own unique experience and opinion and not a statement of any universal facts.
    There are some people for whom talking in person is just better. I find talking to some of my friends infinitely easie in person, mostly because we are both so....similar in our....okay....how to say this.
    Similar in our lateralness.
    That we can say shit that makes no sense to anyone else to each other and get it.

    In addition, misunderstandings are easily resolved through talking. I have a habit of saying the wrong word or being a little vague or unclear. Online this requires multiple edits (and conscientious double checking of my own posts) and can be confusing for people talking with me. In person there is this constant interaction where I can inform the other person what is going on, read their body language and hear their responses, in order to get across what I mean faster. I find it a lot easier to use my body language to express ideas in the air as I talk, creating shapes and imaginary flowcharts or thought bubbles.

    And because it is my body, it all happens extremely fast.

    Now, this thing is impressive. It really is. It's amazing.

    But it wont be as fast.

    So for me, I would still prefer an intellectual conversation in person in terms of having had a satisfying conversation.

    But I'm still hella interested.

    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • EchoEcho very gravitas Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited October 2009
    I agree with this article: the real-time updating when people write just confuses and makes it stressing. I like to take some time for my posts to find the proper phrasing and make it readable.

    That's not easy to do with an audience watching your every spelling error and use of backspace.

    And the whole nested discussion was done way better in Fidonet, 20 years ago.

  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Yeah I agree with that Echo. Well, I have no idea what fidonet is but the main thrust of your point anyway.

    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • NostregarNostregar Registered User
    edited October 2009
    For me, the thing that makes Wave spectacular isn't the ability to branch conversations, though that is nice. It's the ability to all edit a single message - the ability to all work together to improve a paper, report, whatever. It doesn't have to be sent back and forth, reposted, whatever. Just edited in one place.

    As an email client, it wouldn't be a huge improvement over existing stuff, though the way it integrates pictures and maps and stuff is pretty awesome and certainly much better than attachments. As an IM client I don't think it will take off, since most people I know don't leave their web browser open - they would prefer an IM client like AIM, which runs in the background constantly.

    I said it in the other thread, but I'll say it here too: where Wave will really shine is in collaborative work environments.

    Spoiler:
  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Nostregar wrote: »
    For me, the thing that makes Wave spectacular isn't the ability to branch conversations, though that is nice. It's the ability to all edit a single message - the ability to all work together to improve a paper, report, whatever. It doesn't have to be sent back and forth, reposted, whatever. Just edited in one place.

    As an email client, it wouldn't be a huge improvement over existing stuff, though the way it integrates pictures and maps and stuff is pretty awesome and certainly much better than attachments. As an IM client I don't think it will take off, since most people I know don't leave their web browser open - they would prefer an IM client like AIM, which runs in the background constantly.

    I said it in the other thread, but I'll say it here too: where Wave will really shine is in collaborative work environments.

    oh yes

    the editing liek that is fantastic

    although it would be really fucking annoying if i was working on something and somebody started deleting shit halfway.

    so you would still need good organisation to utilise it properly, which will come with time im sure.

    but yes thats a really amazing feature and one ive always wanted

    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • Premier kakosPremier kakos Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2009
    This is what I think of Google Wave:

    GoogleWave.jpg

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  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I don't have Wave yet, but I think the nature of conversation has already fundamentally shifted, and Wave is just an extension of this shift.

    I realized this when I was talking to my fiancée over G-chat video. We were both sitting in rooms with other people (our roommates), and we both had headphones on. I realized that the "conversation" we were having was so far evolved from a normal conversation it was just bizarre.

    • I can't hear my roommates because my headphones drown out their voices. But my fiancée can, because their voices travel into her headphones.
    • My roommates can't hear her, and her roommates can't hear me.
    • Her roommates can hear her, and my roommates can hear me. But not if we type instead of talk.
    • Our conversation—both spoken and written—depended heavily on hypertext.

    Our conversation had more "vectors" and "privacy settings" than I could keep track of in my head, but over time I got used to it and we both even started including roommates in the conversation. Like, I would yell something to my roommate, he would yell something back—which I wouldn't hear, because of my headphones, but which my fiancée could hear, and then relay back to me.

    I think Google Wave just continues this evolution. Communication is the exchange of information. Information used to flow uniformly, from a speaker to whoever else was in earshot. The internet has fundamentally changed that, and now we can consciously "channel" the flow of information, split it into multiple, directed streams, and stop it at certain places. The topology of information flow has become more complicated.

  • Element BrianElement Brian Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    So do we have some sort of Google Wave invitation thread? Is that allowed?

    I like the idea of the carbonation in your pop being too much for your mormon body

    too worldly nooooo
  • nescientistnescientist Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    So do we have some sort of Google Wave invitation thread? Is that allowed?

    Not only allowed, but linked on the last page. But do please read more carefully there than you have here; they're complaining about people failing to read the rules as is.

    Carl Sagan wrote:
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  • iTunesIsEviliTunesIsEvil Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    So do we have some sort of Google Wave invitation thread? Is that allowed?
    There's one in Moe's Stupid Technology Tavern, Linky. But make sure to read the OP, please.

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Robman wrote: »
    I mean worse then usual. Anyways it's 2:30 AM AST and I have no reason to be awake, time to stop jibber-jabbering on D&D and to pass yonder fuck out

    This is most likely Positive Positive cell bias(I.E. confirmation bias) combined with a far bit of filtering sample problems and a misunderstanding of language microevolution/memetics.

    Basically they saw what they wanted to see, which they wanted to see because the good literature/writing from the past has been filtered to the point where we don't often see the bad, making attaining a representative sample of the writing of the era quite hard[better documents are more likely to survive etc]

    On top of this, it assumes that there is some "better/Worse" criteria that writing and language can have, when in fact, the entire idea is pretty much bunk. Language can be better/worse at some things, and heavily abbreviated and misspelled words, so long as the meaning is understood, simply represent a change in language to meet differing needs. This process happens via language evolution/memitcs, which is to say, people pick up on certain useful/liked aspects of a language and start using it more.

    The only way that writing can really get better/worse is in orientation issues, since effective communication often requires the right orientation. And truthfully, i cannot see anything but improvement in orientation over time.[I.E. you orientation/Me orientation goes a long way to not sounding accusatory]

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Echo wrote: »
    I agree with this article: the real-time updating when people write just confuses and makes it stressing. I like to take some time for my posts to find the proper phrasing and make it readable.

    That's not easy to do with an audience watching your every spelling error and use of backspace.

    And the whole nested discussion was done way better in Fidonet, 20 years ago.

    Google Wave is extremely customizable. You can turn off the real-time updating, and many people will. I probably will, although the ability to see what someone is writing and "interrupt" them without really interrupting makes conversation extremely, extremely rapid, efficient and interestingly fluid.

    edit: just to be clear, you can't turn it off in the current beta version, but the video mentions that they plan to integrate it. especially since there will be plenty of feedback about how self conscious it makes people feel.

    the first comment on that article is also important; google wave is a protocol that will be extremely useful for open development.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    I don't have Wave yet, but I think the nature of conversation has already fundamentally shifted, and Wave is just an extension of this shift.

    I realized this when I was talking to my fiancée over G-chat video. We were both sitting in rooms with other people (our roommates), and we both had headphones on. I realized that the "conversation" we were having was so far evolved from a normal conversation it was just bizarre.

    • I can't hear my roommates because my headphones drown out their voices. But my fiancée can, because their voices travel into her headphones.
    • My roommates can't hear her, and her roommates can't hear me.
    • Her roommates can hear her, and my roommates can hear me. But not if we type instead of talk.
    • Our conversation—both spoken and written—depended heavily on hypertext.

    Our conversation had more "vectors" and "privacy settings" than I could keep track of in my head, but over time I got used to it and we both even started including roommates in the conversation. Like, I would yell something to my roommate, he would yell something back—which I wouldn't hear, because of my headphones, but which my fiancée could hear, and then relay back to me.

    I think Google Wave just continues this evolution. Communication is the exchange of information. Information used to flow uniformly, from a speaker to whoever else was in earshot. The internet has fundamentally changed that, and now we can consciously "channel" the flow of information, split it into multiple, directed streams, and stop it at certain places. The topology of information flow has become more complicated.

    So this has the power to annoy parents even more now?

  • CognisseurCognisseur Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I seriously can't wait for Google Wave to go public for a bunch of the reasons already mentioned:

    -Working together on stuff simultaneously. No, I don't want to take a subway an hour downtown just to work on the paper; I want to sit in my boxers in front of my computer and click away

    -I don't want to be a part of Facebook, Aim, Gchat, several forums, blogs, etc. It'd be nice if at least some of those could be truncated... it would certainly make me use them more often.

  • CalMayerCalMayer Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I haven't read the entire thread because I only have a brief moment so i apologize in advance if this question has already been asked, but does anyone know if there is a set date that "Wave" will become open to the public?

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    GWave isn't even finished yet, so there is no set date.

    The version that I and other early entrants have access to is a basic preview build.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • DVGDVG Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I wish I had a google wave experience to share, except besides the guy who got me my invite, I haven't got any contacts. They haven't extended to me the ability to invite anyone else, so right now I can talk to pretty much no one on there.

    Diablo 3 - DVG#1857
  • TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Nostregar wrote: »
    For me, the thing that makes Wave spectacular isn't the ability to branch conversations, though that is nice. It's the ability to all edit a single message - the ability to all work together to improve a paper, report, whatever. It doesn't have to be sent back and forth, reposted, whatever. Just edited in one place.

    As an email client, it wouldn't be a huge improvement over existing stuff, though the way it integrates pictures and maps and stuff is pretty awesome and certainly much better than attachments. As an IM client I don't think it will take off, since most people I know don't leave their web browser open - they would prefer an IM client like AIM, which runs in the background constantly.

    I said it in the other thread, but I'll say it here too: where Wave will really shine is in collaborative work environments.

    Isn't Google documents already like that? And I can see some massive power struggles going on because of this thing.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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