Thursday, May 28, 2009

Google Wave

I just spent about an hour watching the unveiling and first demo of Google Wave (from yesterday's I/O conference). I find Google Wave to be an amazing tool that incorporates many of the great concepts seen in recent years on the web - Twines, Forums, Instant Messaging, Wikis, just to name a few. The pivotal idea, of course, is primarily to bring traditional "e-mail" conversations into the 21st century.

However, I have a grave concern with Google Waves. I don't think the ordinary computer user is ready for it. I think it is too much for them to comprehend. I think this is the same problem facing a lot of great websites out there. There is a 1% minority that can embrace and properly use web collaboration tools. Everyone else is just now starting to grasp the concept of Facebook, and not ready for much more. I find myself wondering if I should invest the time gearing up on Waves, knowing how unlikely it will be that I can get my friends to do so. Unlike many web tools, such as delicious or Flickr, Waves will have limited benefit if I only use it by myself.

So I think Google has a long, tough road ahead with this one. And I'm not sure I'm ready to pull a Leeroy Jenkins and go head-first this time. Which is saying a lot, from someone who has been using Chrome as my primary browser since the day it was released.