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Since my first encounter with Google Wave I have tried to specify what it really is. What is the strengths of it and in what areas can it improve my daily work or personal life. And I have finally come to a conclusion, even though it might be an early conclusion which will be revised many times in the future. This is my take on Google Wave, as of today.
Most of us have a situation at work or in school where assignments, discussions and notifications is sent out to us. An e-mail is the old letter made up by ones and zeros. If I am to send a mail to two friends it will be duplicated and each copy of the mail will be distributed to both friends mailboxes. Now by doing this digitally one might think that this is not that big of a deal, not like we’re going to fill up the wires that builds the Internet anyhow, right? But the fact is, the enormous amount of mails that are being sent around the world pushes the mail servers all over to have to work in overdrive to deliver everything. This in the end makes allot mails cost allot of money.
Early on in the days of Internet forums made an appearance and even before that using bulletin boards which one had to call up with a regular phone which was then connected to a computer which could interpret the squeaks and beeps. Just like the not boards downtown where anyone which knew of the board had the ability to post a note there for anyone to see the digitalised forums was a meeting place for information. The problem that the forums did face was that to let someone read what you had written they had to have access to that specific forum. But then, along came e-mail with global servers which did handle the distribution of mails to all corners of the world which was attached to the same network.
Mail has since then become the bread and butter to send and receive information. The big problem with mail as of today is the fact that every mail being duplicated each time it is being sent which cause it to branch each time. If a mail is sent to three persons and two of these answer the first person must then forward the answers to all recipients again to give them all information. So a simple mail sent to three persons has in very short time multiplied into eight new unique mails. So what would be the better solution then? Well, if all recipients was able to see the same instance of the mail and comment on it, no duplication was needed. And this is what forums once solved, and what Google Wave today try to re-invent.
The fact to remain though, Google Wave is yet another forum in a fancy pair of pants. Sure there is functionality to embed this and that into ones waves but the main strength of it is the fact that each recipient will see the same instance of information as everybody else reducing the traffic of our networks.
So, to sum up. Is there anything in Google Wave which can not be done using a simple forum or for that matter, FirstClass or solution as it?
Up until this day, I must say no. Even though it can be solved using a simple forum, I stil quite like Google Wave. And I will continue to follow it to see where the development will take it.