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A Curmudgeonly Look At Google Wave

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  • by Marc_Hawke (130338) on Monday June 01, 2009 @10:32AM (#28167861)

    The concerns I noticed were more technical than the ones he looked at.

    Hosting... Every email/every conversation will need to be stored on some central server, complete with any images and change history. Switching to a central location seems like a step backwards from the distributed system we have already with email.

    Bandwidth. Every change, send character by character to whoever happens to have it open. That's a lot of 'real-time' bandwidth for this central location. Both of these would work great in a corporate level with a WAVE server running on the LAN, but when it goes global, those servers will be smokin'

    Especially with the concept of wave enabled blogs. If you blog hits DIGG, then the wave server will be sending out your edits to thousands of people simultaneously. I wonder what the datapath is. I'm sure Google/Blogspot has a lot of bandwidth, but when you combine all IM, EMAIL, BLOG traffic along the same pipes to a central location....

    I just wonder about the scalability of the hosting solution.

    They did say that organizations can start their own WAVE server. Sounds like it works much the same way the Jabber (XMPP?) protocol works. But still, if this catches on, I see a future of new congestion problems.

    On the flip side...I was very impressed by the demo...and if this catches on in a big way (and works) it could be a serious redefining of communication on the web.

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Monday June 01, 2009 @10:45AM (#28168059)

    Throwing every chat comment into a linear sequence certainly doesn't scale well for large conversations. Has anyone tried building chat into a tree, much like we see right here? It might tend to fragment conversations, but if the conversation gets too large, that's what's supposed to happen.

    What I really want to see is something like the "decision duel" system from Marc Stiegler's David's Sling.

  • Re:Rebuttle (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ucblockhead (63650) on Monday June 01, 2009 @12:01PM (#28169137) Homepage Journal

    The whole "see every character typed" amuses me massively. The very first time I ever did anything like IRC or IM was way back in the eighties, when I chatted with friends using Apple ][+ software and 300 baud modems. The software was too primitive to do it line-by-line. I found it interesting because more of a person's personality came through. It seemed more like text coming from real human beings when you could see them back-space, and the characters came through in a non-regular fashion.

  • Re:Rebuttle (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Yobgod Ababua (68687) on Monday June 01, 2009 @01:04PM (#28169969)

    It also reminded me of the old UNIX "talk" app that I used quite a bit in college.

    Last year I had the opportunity to use some chat applications for work and I definitely noticed this concept coming up as a problem while trying to get across complicated or lengthy concepts. Many of us self implemented a workaround of entering sentence fragments with "..." between them rather than full sentences because the silent wait was too long otherwise. It was especially important when you want to reply to someone else before other people start chiming in or the conversation moves away.

    The OP's "thoughts" overall didn't feel very well put together. For example, he contrasts joining an edited wave late (where you are presented with the latest version) with going to a wiki page (where you are... presented with the latest version) and doesn't seem to get that wave "playback" is identical to and just as accessible as the wiki changelog. In fact, it takes the changelog one step further by allowing you to see the changes happen rather than just browse the descriptions of the changes (although the latter should also be easily possible, if not in the basic GUI than in a very simple extension).

    He also missed the hectic but rather interesting segment later in the presentation where six people are all editing at once.

    On my part, I'd love to have something like this subsume my regular forum posts, email, and messaging. My communication was good for a while, but lately it fragmented out and now I have too many disparate places to check. A new protocol that allows sufficient functionality to replicate email, IM, talk, wiki, and discussion boards, with extensibility on both the server and client, *is* pretty exciting.

    My only real concern is the permission issue, but if the protocol allows subtrees of your wave to be made "private" to a specific group, it's only a small step to use the same sort of structure to make subtrees "read only" to a specific group. Problem solved.

    If you haven't watched the whole thing, you need to see the auto-translator near the end of the presentation. It's pretty sweet.

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature. -- Rich Kulawiec

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