Thursday, November 12, 2009

Here's Wavin' at you Kid!

Thanks to Foamcow, the only real web developer I know, I got an invite for a Google Wave account.

Rubbing my hands with glee, I signed in. And then what?

Pete was the only listed contact, and he's far too busy working and tweeting to indulge in a spot of Google waving.

Happily, one of my Omani contacts saw my plea on Twitter and added me. She, Deepak and I got seriously stuck into a Wave conversation. Goodness me, how quickly the wave scrolled. We added maps and videos and ended up knowing each other somewhat better, but I haven't seen them on Wave since. Probably because the conversation could be carried out as effectively using Twitter or Live Messenger.

There's quite a Twitter community in Oman, and the majority have protected their tweets. There may be a feeling that Wave is not as 'protected.' Oman has only one ISP at present, Omantel, which is heavily censored. Neither can you be sure that the security services are not reading what you're writing. The filter even bans gmail from time to time.

Does everyone have to be online at the same time to participate in a Wave? Tweeting is more independent. You can pick up a tweet and reply when it suits you, rather than being constrained to follow a conversation in real time.

My five 'wavers' never seem to be online. So that avenue of enquiry has expired.

I have yet to work out how to incorporate Twitter and Facebook into Wave as Mashable suggested.

I had had an idea of how I might use Wave with my toastmasters group. I have to build a mini-website to inform my co-members about developments in a topic that I'm to present as the last project in the Technical Presentations manual. I thought Wave might be a suitable way of bringing people up to speed, particularly as I could use Wave to build a wiki, load photos, documents, maps etc.

Some hope. The club members won't even sign up for Google email accounts so that we could share Google Calendar and Google Docs. And if they don't have a Google account, there's no way they can be offered a Wave account in the future.

Enter the Google Wave cheat sheet. and a welcome clue. If you enter with:public in the search box, you see what everyone else is waving about.

Whoaaaaaaaah! An endlessly scrolling list of Waves that disappear out of the window in less than 3 seconds, most of which look as if they're junk. Too many Waves offering to check if your link works. That looks like spam. Honestly, it was disheartening.

I did follow two Waves. One on learning Swedish, since I did work in Stockholm as an au pair between 1969 to 1970 and learnt a bit of Swedish, and another for women in social marketing.

Love and bless them, the Google engineers have created something, essentially, because they can. We proto-Wavers are the sandbox. How many of us will survive the evolution of Wave?