First Impressions of Google Wave

Google wave was introduced in the last I/O conference (2009) by Google as  a new platform for communication. A platform using web 2.0 concepts, and providing an array of features that has not been available in other platforms.

I received an invitation to use Google wave and decided to take a quick look. Although some of the features of the product are impressive, there are more than a few that are annoying, so I don’t know if the future of this tool is so interesting anymore.

  • Speed: I found the performance of Google wave to be less than desirable. Searches (especially for public documents) take a long time. Loading of documents also take a lot of time. Maybe this could be solved by showing only small parts of a wave instead of loading everything.
  • Interface: the interface is unconventional. While one may get used to it after some time, it is difficult to new users to navigate. Compare this with a web site like twitter, that is easy for anyone to understand.
  • Extensions: there is an extensions protocol that allow programmers to create new functionality. However, I found it hard to find information on how to use these extensions effectively. Even installing extensions is not so clear at the beginning.
  • Compatibility: I expected that you could integrate Google wave seamlessly to Gmail and Gtalk at least. It doesn’t seem to be so. I am still trying to make this work.

It looks like Gwave would be interesting for a group of people that decided to collaborate on the platform. But I think that integrating email and other tools into Google wave is more complicated than it should be. Or maybe I just didn’t get it — but if that is the case there is a lot of people currently in this situation.

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About the Author

Carlos Oliveira holds a PhD in Systems Engineering and Optimization from University of Florida. He works as a software engineer, with more than 10 years of experience in developing high performance, commercial and scientific applications in C++, Java, and Objective-C. His most Recent Book is Practical C++ Financial Programming.

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