Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Google Wave

We’ve been using Basecamp to collaborate on our team for the past year, and one of the things that it highlights is how incredibly poor an experience email provides. A typical email thread (say 10 replies) can encompass a number of people who are cc’d in (or dropped) from any single message, making retrospective auditing of a decision very, very complex. (In fact it’s impossible if you weren’t on the critical email in the chain.)

Having got used to Basecamp, we now use its Messages function in preference to email precisely because it provides a single conversational thread where anyone can see the decisions being made in chronological order, irrespective of when they joined.

One of the features of Basecamp we haven’t really got comfortable with is the Chat feature, which is functionally equivalent to the Messages, but in ‘real’ time – i.e. it’s a better IM, where Messages are a better email.

Google Wave seems like a better Chat and a better Messages function, combined in one. I have no idea if it’s a ‘killer app’, and some of the initial press has suggested it’s just too ambitious, too complicated for non-technical users, but I for one applaud Google’s ambition in at least addressing the problem. Email is well past it’s sell-by-date, I think that for tech-savvy power users Wave (or an equivalent) could become a de facto communication medium.

1 comment:

Martin Dower said...

I'm in the same boat. Been using Basecamp for 2 years now and have, largely, exorcised my email addiction - fantastic, although a real pain when clients "force" me back into that ugly email world. I've had GW for a while yet and whilst it provides some of the collab stuff it is, IMHO, too complex to have quick adoption. It seems that new technology these days has to be a) better than old stuff and b) much, much simpler to use. I'd like to try using GW with BC via the dropbox facility, that might be interesting.