A few months back, Zath brought you news of Google’s new communication toy, Google Wave. I was lucky enough to be sent an invite to get a chance to play with it and it definitely is a fun toy to play with. It sure does invite a brand new way of communicating with the masses and looks like it should do well when released and all your friends have it too. But, how useful is it really?
Well, let’s take a look.
NB the interface has been split into the following two images for ease of use for this review. Google Wave looks shiny and new, doesn’t it? The left hand side is all about navigation; sorting through folders at the top and seeing your contacts at the bottom. The middle section allows you to see how many waves you have going on and who has said what inside them. The little green numbered icon lets you know you have unread messages. Not to be confused with the other little green ball icon that sits beside your face, once you upload a picture. This handy little feature lets you know who’s online at any given point. Finally, the right hand side is all about your content and IM-ing.
Left Columns of the Google Wave Interface:
A fun little feature of Wave is that allows you to have a tiered conversation, so as to have multiple conversations running parallel with each other. Taking a look at the picture below, you’ll be able to see that some conversation is indented. This happens when you respond to a previous conversation and chat has been allowed to flow for a bit, otherwise conversation just flows from up to down as per usual. This function seems very useful for collaboration projects (at work, using scripts, large chunks of text) where the text needs to be edited frequently and ideas need to be thrown around.
Right Column of the Google Wave Interface:
Playing around with functionality is fun at first, but quickly wears on you as you figure out that there isn’t much Google Wave can do that your usual IM can’t. In fact, it’s a bit of a glorified chat client that takes a lot longer to use and navigate around. Actually, hold on; as my trusty friend points out in the chat we had, you’re able to see that there is now the feature where you are able to see everything typed out as it happens. He didn’t like his typos being seen and I wasn’t really bothered — unless I was going to call him a douche bag and then realise it wasn’t probably wasn’t wise (which I would never, ever do). This also seems to repeat the very, very old Unix chat and has somewhat been deemed outdated. It’s strange to think we’re going backwards. Or maybe it’s that we’re going round the loop-de-loop. Either way, we’ve been there before. Oh, you can also add, join and be part of networks too — which is quite fun. If you like that sort of thing.
You can upload pictures straight into the chat client (with a bit of searching of where the paperclip is) and its quick-to-use floating buttons are pretty good-looking at first too, but do start to grind at your gears when you accidentally click elsewhere and need to find your way back to where you wanted to edit. Unfortunately, this seemed to happen a lot — so was it me just accidentally clicking in the wrong place or was it just a little too difficult to get the curser where you wanted it? Methinks the latter (I do realise, though, that these could be teething problems and could be ironed out in future releases). However, Google Wave is definitely sure to let you know when it’s screwed up and you’ll be sure to see this error which refers to the Firefly TV show:
A cute feature of Wave is that you get to create yourself a little profile, which is ultimately meaningless, but allows you to feel important nonetheless. I think my superpower is now set to being awesome. Haha. What’s yours?
There are a few Google Wave keyboard shortcuts you have to get used to. For when you first press ‘Enter’ and find that it doesn’t enter your text, you are left somewhat dismayed. They follow:
Shift + Enter = Enter text
Ctrl + Enter = Move curser to line below
Space = Inside the chat window, this moves to you between all the unread text with green lines beside them
I didn’t really find anymore, but if you do, do let us know in the comments below.
I found Google Wave useful, but I don’t see how it’s revolutionary in any way. It certainly hasn’t done much that hasn’t been done already, but looks nice and once everyone has it (and it’s a little faster), I’m sure it’ll be a bit more fun to use.
Have you had a chance to play with it? If so, let us know what you think, if not check out our other Google Wave review for more information.