INVADING /B/
cc licensed flickr photo shared by Xuilla

It’s like pissing in an ocean of piss

I’m probably over-saturating, but until I can figure out something useful to do in Google Wave, its more fun to piss on all the silliness I see about it.

I peek in every few days, and mostly I see Google Waves talking about Google Wave. Yawn. So far the main use is some place to have back and forth conversations, nothing any more novel than the email it is supposed to replace, listservs, web boards, twitter, etc. Or a place for people to try toss in media or various widget like things. Its a mess.

Also, I’ve noted the version available to the public is not the same one featured in the 80 minute preview video. For example, we have no tool to “split” a conversation, so we are stuck with simply reply and tack on– unless someone has access to this bit that was demo-ed:

Google Wave Split

More so, what I see is people focusing on the interface we have now- its cluttered (yes), clumsy (yes) confusing (yes).

But over and over, I see people mixing this implementation of Wave with the platform that is underneath. This is but the first crude instance we have to use the Wave Platform- the web interface is not Wave itself. I think Google majorly gaffed by not giving the web app a different name- I therefore shall refer to it as “Surfboard” since it rides the Wave.

I know/hop, if I relax the mind, go about my regular business, sooner or later (maybe a lot later), a light will flicker on with an idea of something meaningful to do in Wave- but until then, I am not seeing any value in endless chatter on the Surfboard.

Man, I gotta go…. again. Surfs up.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. I have been feeling a lot like you about the current state of googlewave and have been reluctant to say anything, because there are so many happy people in the waves I am in playing with the various toys and exhilarating about educators collaborating.

    Collaboration possibilities may be there but at present, it looks so messy to me, it would drive me crazy to collaborate with anyone in this way.

  2. I am glad I read your post. It reassures me that there is a good future for Google Wave. Before disruptive technology gets a chance to disrupt things, there need to be naysayers complaining about it. Sort of makes me think of the early days of Twitter when people talked about how useless Twitter was and how everyone on Twitter just spent all their time talking about Twitter. Likewise, it makes me think of the early days of Blogging. With each of those, not only was there the phase of introspection, but there was also a phase of people complaining about the new media and the navel gazing on it.

    Fortunately, we don’t have as much talking about the medium in virtual worlds, which is probably why virtual worlds are so much more pervasive than blogging or tweeting. (* snark *)

    Yet perhaps, this self reflection is important. Before a disruptive technology can get a chance to disrupt, people need to experiment with it and explore ideas of what it might be possible to do with the technology that hasn’t been explored yet and complaining about things that just aren’t working right with the technology yet.

    To me, what is important are the underlying aspects; the ability to create gadgets that can be shared in waves as well as on other platforms; the ability to federate servers; and the ability to extend the platform.

    Okay. That’s my counter-rant. Go ahead looking at what is, and asking why. I’ll go about experimenting with what is not fully yet, and asking, hmm, I wonder what I can do with this.

  3. In some ways I think Google Wave has been a victim of its own hype. When you deliberately come out and say you have a replacement to e-mail, then you’re bound to get a certain level of backlash.

    I wonder how much Google Surfboard is meant to fill needs for newcomers to the digital space – while the old timers mostly have a string of Web 2.0 apps to scratch the itch.

    I also wonder if the problem lies in limits of collaboration. How many collaborative projects is any one person engaged in at one time? How many would work on Google Surfboard (let alone work well)? Of those, how many participants actually have Surfboard invites?

    I think its great that you aren’t just jumping on the bandwagon(or wave), and really critiquing it. In the end I agree with Aldon, how long was it before WordPress or Twitter found believers?

  4. Sorry, it wasn’t exactly what she did. Wave is still finicky, but it has potential. The problem — as you point out — is “potential for what?”

    Right now, a buddy and I are using it to do our pre-season planning for next year’s fantasy baseball. That is seriously the best use I’ve found for it. There are a couple of specific bots that would make it a pretty amazing tool for this purpose, for example, a bot that would link a player’s name with his fangraphs.com page.

    Still have to keep in mind that we are using a *pre-beta* product. Consider the road the Google Apps we all use extensively now have traveled: Gmail, Docs, Reader… The future is not now with Wave. But that’s OK.

  5. I’ll hang out a bit, on the beach, waxing (my board) and see what happens. I haven’t logged back into my Waves since I got ’em up. Maybe I should.
    My knee-jerk reaction to tools that wanna do a bunch of stuff for me , is yike! stay away. Call it my technological demeanor going Zen, but I’m finding myself less and less attracted to an app or a configuration of apps that want me to centralize on them. This seems to be more true for web-based ones, than local ones. Ok I do use Entourage to centralize email-related stuff and organize my thinking around them with notes, categories, email groups and rules. But I don’t use all the other dang features, although I used to use the tasks.
    My centralizing interface for the web is my browser. Or maybe it’s ultimately my laptop? Since I don’t really do everything in the browser. I still use Mail at home, and I’ve even uninstalled most of the extensions I was using with FF, because they bogged its performance.
    Has anyone written the screenplay for “Feature Creep”?
    Seriously though, what I find myself doing and liking is cycling through configurations. It’s that user-control experience. I’ve started actively using delicious again (via extensions) after not for 3 years.
    So as soon as somebody like Jane Hart, lays out some useful tips…
    omg she just did… on Wave, http://janeknight.typepad.com/socialmedia/, that’s when I’d jump in.

  6. Suzanne, I feel that saying wave is a tool that wants to do a bunch of stuff is like saying the web is a tool that wants to do a bunch of stuff. After all, we use the web for editing documents, sharing files, writing messages, curating resources, reading news, keeping personal content archives, blogging, social networking, playing sudoku. The list goes on and on.

    What I am saying is that wave is a protocol, much like the protocols that make the web, email, and instant messaging work. Just as the web shook up old models of organization (hyperlinked instead of hierarchical, bottom-up instead of top-down.) The wave aims to shake up models of interaction by being simultaneously synchronous and asynchronous as well as linear and non-linear.

    I don’t know if this protocol will be successful or see wide adoption. But i am cautiously optimistic.

  7. Brad, Food for thought thanks. I see what you’re saying too. As a technology “user,” my metaphors are often tool-centric.

    I’m surfing with the Educause Wave(s), we’ll see what happens.

  8. Alan, I agree with you regarding Wave. Seems to be the wheel reinvented with added whitewalls but with “no direction home”. As Flavor Flav of Public Enemy sings: “Don’t Believe The Hype”.

    Another big thrill out there at the moments is… Twitter Lists. They may be good but they may also be overkill. How does one easily cull a list from 300, 400, 500 or 1000 followers? Some of the lists I have seen have 300+ people in them.

    Surely the lists should be kept to a small core of seriously like minded souls, say ten people, or that wonderful short term memory figure of 7? I think people are adding a large number of individuals to their list so that they do not offend anyone.

  9. I’m seeing lists a bit differently- there seems to be a lot of wave like fervor to create these ultimate lists of “important”/”popular”/”best” etc. That does not interest me, nor do I see it really as a way to locate people to follow.

    I thought it is a more useful way to provide some logical grouping for say, classes, projects, working groups, maybe conference attendees as a slightly different way to aggregate (a hash tag is a subset of what people tweet, a list says the collection of people as a group matter, maybe).

    It’s all emerging (or submerging uh oh another watery metaphor!)

  10. Thanks Alan, good points. I hadn’t really come up with configurations that ultimately wowed me, so I just jumped in and started experiments. I made a couple of my own, with something like 14 people on them and then I’m following others’ list. My logic seems to be at this point really organic, some are topical some are location-based. My collections, are like delicious tags, how they’re connected makes sense to me, at the moment. That could change though. Prolly should, like a river’s never the same…watery metaphorically. :)

  11. I found /B/ here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//B/#.2Fb.2F

    GOSH! I wish there were some way for me to add this reply ^^ up there ^^ under your post…. And then I wish there were a way maybe to split off that note and start a new one on Internet memes… and then I wish there were a way for me to riff on that thread with Alan when he were actually live online… and then I wish could add a widget on the fly to change the interface here and add my own interactive content… and then I wish I had live machine translation so my acquaintance from Spain could chime in….

    Yep – it is over-hyped and awkward. But it changes the game!

  12. I hear ya Jeremy- Maybe such ways of conversing will happen soon via a trickle of things or a flood.

    I was thinking of creating a new technology- What if we could re-invent comment blogging, knowing everything we know today? What would it look like? There is a great 90 minute video almost ready for release that gives you a taste….

    Thanks for the /b/ reference- I knew of it only i the bare marginal sense….

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