HomeBlogMy Google Wave Review

My Attempt At Google Wave

Published May 13, 2010

I signed up for Google Wave a few weeks back to check out the hype. A few days later I was given access. I wanted to use Wave among our table-top gaming group. Yes, I play Dungeons & Dragons Monday nights and we've been compiling campaign notes and adventures through the years using everything from email to Yahoo Groups to Open Office. I saw Wave as a good place to collaborate and keep our notes and thoughts in order, include character histories, keep track of sessions, in short have one place to work from.

At first it seemed this was the answer to our prayers but as we continued to use it we ran into some pretty large obstacles. The first issue was the lack of accessibility. I realize this is a beta version but let's face it if I can't invite the people that I want to collaborate with how can I possibly, truly rate a collaboration platform? I was able to invite some people from the gaming group who received invites days later but only those who had gmail accounts.

I started by creating a wave with a friend of mine on a novella we were both working on. While Wave worked great for quick brainstorming and idea generation it failed horribly when we tried to paste a large chunk of text. Every time we tried to input a chapter of the story Wave would flash a message telling me the Wave had become corrupt, was too large and could no longer be edited. This was frustrating to say the least because each subsequent Wave also became corrupt. We pasted less text and it seemed to work but randomly Waves would become corrupt. I came to the conclusion very quickly that this platform was really meant for snippets of thoughts not real, robust collaboration.

When I tried to delete the corrupted Waves it put them in a trash folder but the Waves to this day are still sitting there. I don't know about you but there is nothing more annoying than content you want deleted that refuses to delete. Am I missing something here? Why can't I permanently DELETE these Waves? It boggles the mind. I would think that deletion in a platform like this is really essential even in a beta release.

Wave is also wracked with bugs. One day it will work in Firefox 3.6.3 on OS 10.5 another day it only works on Chrome. For two weeks I had to work exclusively in Chrome because the editing palette was broken on all other browsers. Refreshing sometimes helped but most of the time it failed.  Real time chat is slow so I don't think most people will use it for this and online status of participants was also inconsistent.

Once a participant gets added to a Wave there is no way to delete them and there is no "Owner" for the wave, no administrator that has user management rights. As a tool for corporate collaboration I don't see how this makes any sense.

So after a month of using this product I have experienced nothing but frustration with corrupted files, files that won't delete, people I can't invite and functions that seem to randomly crash browsers with no consistency.

I would be curious to see future improvements but as it stands right now, I won't be riding the Wave.

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Creative Director at RustyBrick, Mabelyn brings twenty years of demonstrated design expertise for both print and web. She is also a fine artist and published author.

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