Google Wave crashes on beach of overhype

I just got my Google Wave invite. No, I’m already out, so I can’t send one to you, sorry.

But this service is way overhyped and as people start to use it they will realize it brings the worst of email and IM together: unproductivity.

See, the first thing you notice is that you can see people chatting live in Google Wave.

That’s really cool if you are working on something together, like a spreadsheet or a Word document.

But it’s a productivity sink if you are trying to just communicate with other people.

It also ignores the productivity gains that we’ve gotten from RSS feeds, Twitter, and FriendFeed.

What do I mean by that?

It is noisy, but the noise often happens way down in a wave deep in your inbox.

This is far far worse than email. (New email always shows up at the top of my inbox, where Google Wave can bring me new stuff deep down at the bottom of my inbox).

It’s far far worse than Twitter (where new stuff ALWAYS shows up at top). It’s even far worse than FriendFeed, which my friends always said was too noisy. At least there when you write a comment on an item it pops to the top of the page.

And, worse, when I look at my Google Wave page I see dozens of people all typing to me in real time. I don’t know where to look and keeping up with this real time noise is less like email, which is like tennis (hit one ball at a time) and more like dodging a machine gun of tennis balls. Much more mentally challenging.

See, Google Wave was oversold as something you’d use with the public, or at least with large groups of friends, like you use Twitter, email, or Facebook.

No. Using it that way is an attention dump and will kill your productivity. Google Wave is actually closer to IM. Great with your very close friends or very active coworkers but horrid for nearly everyone else.

Google’s Wave will crash hard onto the beach of overhype.

My advice?

DO NOT ADD EVERYONE. Get a close personal friend, or a coworker to play with this and don’t publicize that you’re using it until you are sure you can deal with the productivity hit you’ll take here.

DO NOT ASSUME THIS IS A TWITTER KILLER. It is not. It’s not even a good sharing engine, far worse than FriendFeed is. I’d recommend using a private room over on FriendFeed first.

DO TRY THE API if you are a developer. From what I’m seeing that’s where the real value in Google Wave will come, but we haven’t seen enough apps yet so end users won’t find much here to play with yet.

To see some screen shots and how noisy this can get, go over and check out Louis Gray’s post about it.

Just get ready for the crash of overhype, this one didn’t deserve this much hype for what it delivered.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

235 thoughts on “Google Wave crashes on beach of overhype

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  4. Kudos for not being yet another google kiss ass. Just got my account and my initial impression is that Wave is NOT intuitive and is certainly NOT efficient. Seeing others type in real time sucks on many levels. Wave boils down to little more than multi-user IM. the biggest flaw is that it’s yet another closed network. Perhaps they’ll change this at some point but right now you can not send anything to anyone who doesn’t have a Wabe account. You can’t email them, you can’t IM them. That is fucking asinine.

    BTW, the above opinion is in response to Google’s claim of Wave as a replacement for email. I do see potential as a collaboration tool utilized inside a company. However, that is an entirely different market from the one they claim to be focused on.

  5. What we have here may be the Deflationary spiraling vortex of Cannibalized manic enthusiasm. Are we just beginning to question the marketing lies we wanted to believe?

    yes Google is still god with a little gee.

  6. Fair enough on IM, I guess I'm the exception.

    But on Twitter/Facebook/Friendfeed: There *is* arguing that point. Like this. And then there's the fact that it can be excellent in marketing, even if you can't work it into production. Et cetera.

  7. Since always.

    It's been used by programmers for a very long time as a quick way to communicate about issues – why do you think IRC was so popular and still exists? AIM, XMPP, etc. are just modern versions of that, and now New Media-ites have joined the ranks of those that use it for work-related purposes.

    Twitter/Facebook/Friendfeed absolutely does not. There's no arguing this point – they do not contribute valuable, productive data or resources.

    –Kyle

  8. Have you tried the replay feature?

    Have you been able to drag in any file and share it?

    Have you dragged in your Twitter feed?

  9. The crash of overhype? What Happened to Open Social?

    I would be alot happier if Google focused on products which weren't aimed at building huge distribution channels for adsense…

  10. wow, thanks for this blog post – so I don’t have to go around anymore chasing free invites when in fact, there’s no real benefit over what I already have.

    I think it’s over hyped by bloggers and the media.

  11. I think no matter how good it is there is no way it could live up to the hype it has received. I do not have it yet but I am sure I will like it based on the videos that are out. Thanks for updating us anyway.

  12. Will I be able to use Google Wave in any way to increase the ranking of my business on the Google search engine

  13. Although I thought your article was more thoughtful and balanced, you still seemed to emphasize the communication aspects (e-mail) over the publishing aspects. Despite Lars' assertion I don't see Wave replacing email either. IM with notification filtering might consolidate and simplify the direct messaging app space. I do think Wave could replace Wikis and apps like PowerPoint though my inclination is to let it evolve into something not tied to old metaphors. My impression is that the realtime communication functionality will direct and serve as commentary on the publishing process and that the recorder will eventually be used primarily as a presentation playback engine for the content being produced and not as a conversation playback engine.

    There's nothing wrong with being an edge case unless you don't realize it.

  14. At least Google is trying to advance communications and not stifling it… like Microsoft who continues to utilize Word as their Outlook rendering engine. Communication technology is evolving on the Internet – and experiments like this are great for encouraging invention!

  15. Honestly I don’t agree with this article at all. At the developer preview it was touted as a mix between email and im with the purpose of being a communication and collaborative tool.

    Obviously it isn’t going to pose any threat to Facebook or any other social network. Not yet at least anyway as you have pointed out with it’s various kinks and so forth.

    Another point is…….isn’t this only a beta? I may have misunderstood but isn’t this time between now and when they release it to the public supposed to be used by the Google Wave team and independent developers alike to improve it for when it is ‘done’? How can you be so underwhelmed by an application in its early beta stages?

  16. All the niche uses that e-mail has gotten will never get moved over to Wave.

    Inventing your niche uses required a certain ingenuity innately present in the human brain. It's still there. Re-engage this quality to produce a new solution to the problem using the tools available. You will be amazed at what you come up with.

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