Google Wave: most overrated technology since Twitter

Morton Rhue's new book: 'The Google Wave'

Google Wave seems like an overly complex solution to a non-existing problem. Nowadays the issue is not how to communicate with your friends and colleagues, the real challenge is to get some actual work done between answering your email and watching viral videos online.

A few months ago, when it was released, I actually sat down and watched the entire 80 minutes or so of the Google Wave presentation in YouTube (please note that this atrocity, which I bet almost no one watched in full, currently have a 5.0 star rating!).

I’ll skip the part where I rant about the well fed and self satisfied Google lecturers, who seem to stretch every bit of information that could have been thoroughly explained within seconds into minutes upon minutes of arrogant and graceless presentation. I don’t bear a grudge against them for wasting my time with the video though, after all Google Wave is designed for that very purpose – wasting valuable time.

Last Thursday 100,000 “lucky” users got a chance to test what is hyped as the future of the internet (and then blog about it I guess). What truly amazes me right now is that everywhere you look (okay, everywhere within the constraints of your monitor) people are raving about the mythical powers and neon bright economic future of Google Wave (whose actual nature and/or use seems to elude even its own developers).

This reminds me of two things: the thousands of blog posts and “articles” about why your business must be in Twitter right now (the short answer is ‘because’) and the educational book “The Wave” (no pun intended) by Morton Rhue (Todd Strasser), where a US high school is caught in an experiment of mass brainwashing, dictatorship and let’s face it: hype.

I just don’t get all those people who rain praise and positive reviews about what seems to be at best a half baked idea just because it comes from Google. I might be proved wrong somewhere along the line, but in my opinion Google is too big and too clumsy for its own good. I think that right now, in the shadow of the economic crisis they’re just shooting in all directions.

Specifically, Google Wave seems to me like an overly complex solution to a non-existing problem. Nowadays the issue is not how to communicate with your friends and colleagues, the real challenge is to get some actual work done between answering your email and watching viral videos online.

Because Google Wave is a real time service, and because it’s about conversations and not about posting, I predict that every ‘wave’ will soon turn into a huge tsunami requiring literally hours to follow. Consider the level of commitment required to use this service, especially if you’re not stuck near the computer the entire duration of your day, and need to catch up with what went down with your 643 friends. It’s like trying to read all the comments in a popular YouTube movie – long, repetitive and rarely rewarding.

In the bottom line, if Google Wave was named ‘Whatever Wave’ (or even worse: ‘Microsoft Wave’) no one would care about it. At best.


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8 Responses to “Google Wave: most overrated technology since Twitter”

  1. 3 Eric Kotonya Friday, October 9, 2009 at 12:17

    I think there is great benefit and simplicity in using Google Wave.

    1 – Google wave comes with “Robots”, little clever errand applications that make the conversation cleverer. Those in academics, marketing and planning can drag-in wave robots to converse and help them prepare rich, well-researched content fast – and for free. In Wave, Google has introduced the “push” search engine, that learns and brings to you results formatted in the context of you desire. This is the next logical step in search engine technology and presentation.

    2 – If you are already chatting to 643 friends, and they leave “while you were away messages” in your wave inbox, that’s not Google’s problem. The seemingly overload of information introduced by Google Wave is, in the real sense, a clutter reduction and management solution. As a Wave user, you can choose whom to invite into each Wave, and even mute some of them. Versioning is a tool for information management – Google, through the Wave, makes an ingenious attempt at clustering conversions into a digital train of thought.

  2. 4 Manasi Friday, October 9, 2009 at 12:06

    hahaha nice Hillel,if only pencil was so integrated with the virtual world of web!..if you notice the dynamics of ‘data’ on web(which is beyond the user interface) which results into–> recommendations on social networking sites/advertisemets/spams/promotion mails in your inbox, you might want to consider that our own ‘data’ (that we intentionally or unintentionally share or leave traces of on web)is used to influence our activities in someways on the web!!..’Dictatorship’ has actually started though still at very nascent stage!

    I am all excited to see how the people act or react to this changing(not evolving!) dynamics of web in future :D

  3. 5 nima0102 Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 22:02

    Thanks for sharing information
    Can you send invitation for me ?
    Thanks in advance

  4. 6 Manasi Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 18:06

    Nice perspective based yet an informative article.. Infact it made me think alot and I really stuck upon this line : “Google Wave seems to me like an overly complex solution to a non-existing problem”….:-) is indeed so true!!

    If we go back at other Google products, I don’t see that Google ever came up with the solution to an “existing-problem”..or maybe the case that the ‘problem’ was accepted as a fact!

    The Google search and gmail though came up with the very basic concepts yet with time and enhancements they no wonder they have seeped into our daily lives..well, maybe thats the statement of Google Technology…- Give the basic framework of the product to users in Beta version and learn from usage and feedback to enhance it! :-)


    • 7 Hillel Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 22:46

      Hi Manasi, thanks for your comment :)

      And you know what? You’re 100% right. The day after I’ve published this post I thought a bit more about this and realized that what Google is trying to do is create a general platform with loose definitions and no specific use, and encourage 3rd party developers do all the work and find what to do with it.

      I think this is a great backlash example of the iPhone Apps/Twitter API business model: web companies try to outsource creativity.

      Imagine a world where pencil companies monetize from everything that is written using their pencil, and even dictate what you can or can’t write with it!

  1. 1 links for 2009-10-04 | Don't mind Rick Trackback on Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 16:03
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