Google Wave as a tool for collaboration. Thoughts?

I’ve seen a few post mentioning Google Wave. I would like to get other peoples take on it.

The idea of Google Wave as a collaboration tool interests me. It looks like it would be able to fulfill most of the needs of collaboration with other authors. I could see how it could be used to have someone throw down a first draft, and the co-author edit and comment in real time. Then you could bounce around ideas with comments about certain sections of your work. Later you could add editors and proofreaders to look over your work, (something that I would desperately need, for anyone to even understand my work).

That being said, the UI looks a bit intimidating. Sarcasm I always look forward to learning a whole new system.

Security would be a big issue too. How safe would it be? For professional writers, that makes their living writing, security would always be a major issue.

I’m more of a solitary writer myself, but sometimes I like to bounce my ideas off of others.

I think after they have implemented some feedback and got to, maybe their second go around (2.0), Google Wave would be very interesting indeed.

I am very enthusiastic about Wave, but not because Wave is a tool to collaboratively write – Google Docs has a more familiar interface for this purpose – but because I think that Wave can change the way we communicate in the next decade.

I blogged about this in German … lernt-sein … as-web-3.0

and tried to summarize my thoughts in Wave … BkThudBUuA

What strikes me is the idea of a blip as smallest informational unit in the net which can be accessed through various means. I can envisage a net where you can use one and the same blip in private communication as in email, in group collaboration as in forums and on public webpages. Perhaps Wave is not only the replacement for mail and forums but also a common interface for content management systems and blogs.

But Wave will only succeed if federation is working and everyone is able to install a wave server. Many of my friends would never make an account at Google.

I have played around with Google Docs, and as a word processor it leaves much to be desired. Mostly, I would do my writing else where and then just copy and paste into Google Docs. I think Google Docs is good tool for collaboration, but not much else. As a word processor there are just better choices out there.

I worked a large cable, ISP, and VOIP phone provider a while back, and I could see how Google Wave would be able to replace e-mail and maybe IM all together there. E-mail being our main source of communication, first thing I would do when getting into work would be check my e-mail. I would have almost 1,000 messages a day (coming back from weekend I could have anywhere from 2000-5000 e-mails), many that had been forwarded and resent with new information and new document pasted onto it. I would have to search for the most recent e-mail find how what information was still useful. With Wave I don’t see that being much of issue, because there would only be one document that had been updated. So I would only see the most up-to-date information. I believe that Wave could have cut down e-mails by half and saved me 15-30 minutes a day from searching for the newest e-mail.

I also worked with our in-house trainer and would often make a quick trouble shooting and how to guide for problems that seemed to pop up with our UIs. We could have easily when back and forward with those guides and made sure they were correct and easy to understand.

I teach seminary classes online and had been looking for a viable solution. Originally I thought Google Docs would be it, but there are some limits. I also signed up for Google Wave, but haven’t seen its potential yet. So, in the mean time we use Mega Meeting for the video conferencing and Zoho Office for producing documents, sharing documents, and setting up discussion boards. While not ideal, it has worked well in our environment.

For instance, the class I teach now has seven pastors and we cover all four time zones. They write weekly assignments using Zoho then share it with the professor; Zoho notifies me via email that a new document is ready to be reviewed. I read, then write comments (in different font color) and when saved, then Zoho notifies the original author.

This process saves a lot of junk email, with attachments that can be formatted haphazardly or not at all, in different file formats, etc. I don’t have to go into that. For the final papers, then I have guidelines for them in terms of what format I accept (.odt, doc, and .rtf).

This has been an interesting conversation. I did try out Wave a while back and wasn’t really impressed. For me a combination of e-mail filters, IM, and if persistent multi-author document change tracking is necessary, a simple wiki (like Peanut Butter), remains good enough. I see how Wave is trying to address all three of these methods, but get the sense that it isn’t quite targeted at people like me. The whole “real-time” aspect is certainly interesting, but in my experience whenever I’ve collaborated on documents with other writers, nobody is ever on at the same time anyway—or if they are not everyone is actually looking and working on the document. Someone will be online, but addressing some other matter off-document and it just ends up being one person in the file anyway. It’s “fun” but I don’t know if I’ve ever really found it to be useful enough to ditch other tools.

Has anyone had actual, consistently useful real-time sessions with anyone, and if so, how is it superior to “you take this chapter and I’ll take this one” type communication? How often are two people actually writing in the same thematic section as the other? Because as soon as I see a theme barrier, my mind just thinks, “you take this file and I’ll take this one, see you in four hours”.

That is one of the main things I would like to get out of this thread myself.

I feel the same. I think it’s aimed at large businesses where e-mails and IM are their major source of communication within the company. Yet, I can still see the appeal for other uses, like writing and other creative endeavors.

Even if it’s really not that great at the process of collaborative writing I could see it leading the way for something more suited to it. The main problem is that it has no comparable equivalent with any other app. So that leaves many people just wondering what it’s good for in the first place, (I guess since I have so many questions I would count myself as one of them) but, if anything, I think it could lead to a program more suited for both large collaborations and ones on a smaller scale.

I had a session with a developer on a technical topic. He was the guy who knew what the software is actually doing and I was the one to straighten the text. So he wrote a sentence which was a little dry, I improved it, he checked it and so one. I wrote a sentence I thought sounds great and he acknowledged whether the facts where ok. This was a good approach and we managed the whole text in an afternoon.