Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Google Wave: A Video

9th October, 2009

So recently I finally got my hands on a Google Wave invite (many thanks to @amykate for that one), and had a bit of a chance to sit down and see what’s what.

My invite seemed to come with a bit of an influx, and quite a few people I was following got theirs too. Initially the reaction seemed very much to be “so what can I do with this?”, rapidly followed by “this is a let-down”. I was working and hardly in a position to give it a good go, and what better way to test the features out than with a screencast? Check it out below.

Generally I was mildly impressed with Google Wave. We were having a discussion in the office, and I definitely think that it has fantastic potential. I had a few issues running it in Firefox (it is massively Javascript heavy, after all) but I think the implementation is very good (and runs very smoothly in Chrome with V8).

I think Wave really is something different. As you saw in the screencast, “glorified IM” was mentioned, and I agree that this is currently very much along those lines. But I like to think of the potential it has - think of a mashup between the real-time nature of Google Talk, the collaboration of Google Docs, the innovativeness of Google Mail, all mixed in with a very heavy dose of asynchronous HTTP requests (I deliberately do not use the term AJAX here as I am getting fed up of people using it incorrectly - I could, and probably will, write an entire post about that).

So in conclusion, Wave today isn’t quite as revolutionary as people were expecting and Google pitched it. However that does not dampen its potential for me, and given the right application I think it would be sensational. I think this scenario would be something like a fast-paced agile development team looking for a cross between Docs, Mail and Talk as I mentioned earlier. Here Wave really would come into its own.