Jeremy Felt

Google Wave – Conversation Doesn’t Have To Be Chess

I’ve been holding my Wave thoughts to myself for the most part barring random tweet or comment here and there, but after reading the Fast Company version, I finally decided to type a brief opinion out.

Brief admittedly because Google’s version of the Wave hasn’t launched, and it isn’t open source enough for me to have my own Wave implementation setup, so I have no idea how it really works up close.

Wave is not a reinvention of email. Google may have said it is, but it’s not. Wave is another version of conversation. The fears laid out in the Fast Company article (especially #2), say it all:

“With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.” That’s what Google says. Am I the only one who writes an email, then revises it for tone and clarity? It’s creepy enough that other people know when I’m typing on Gtalk. Now they can see what I’m thinking as I try out sentences?

That is exactly what a conversation is.

When I’m standing in the same room as somebody and conversing with them, anything that comes out of my mouth is heard. If I stutter, or misspeak, or change my mind mid sentence… I am allowed. If the person listening to me needs to interrupt me or offer an answer that I’m having trouble expressing, they can. Just like that. Two people don’t sit and stare at each other while they try to formulate the perfect response.

Conversation doesn’t have to be chess. And to me, Google Wave is for conversation.

Responses and reactions


Andy Chantrill replied on 

I see the analogy. I question whether hyper-realtime conversation in written form can flow as naturally as the spoken exchange, and whether it'll be possible to make sense of multi-threaded conversations by scanning through them quickly, or will we have to rely on the timelapse "replay" feature? This is something we've not experienced before, and new skills will have to be learned.It'll definitely be fun pushing the limits of human interaction, and thanks again for the invite!

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