I enjoyed the presentation, but just like after watching the official introduction at Google IO, I am not sold on Wave.
The technology behind it sure seems impressive, but I have yet to see (or understand?) what concrete benefits it brings. I have not yet seen any use that would not have been filled by either email, IM, a forum, or google apps.
Wave is remixing all of those into something new, which is bound to be very disturbing as it will be in a uncanny valley where we think we know what is there (for ex. someone typing a message), while the reality is different from what we expect (you can edit you correspondant message while he types it).
Seems to me they try to have one single tool to achieve very different things, which is generally a recipe for failure.
Disclaimer: This is based on my poor recollection of the session, and may not be an accurate or comprehensive description of the presenter’s ideas. I also use those posts to share my own idea on the topic.
Johanna highlighted many issues with email, and there are not doubt many, but I don’t agree on all of the ones mentioned. For me the fact that my messages or love letters may be opened a century from now by my grand kids is not a benefit. My emails are private things, and I only want the recipient(s) to see. I can use public blogs, forum etc if I want to share.
However, I agree that the current situation has serious issues: much vital information in organisation is only present in emails, is not searchable by all who need it, and is lost when one person leaves.
A key point of Johanna’s presentation was about “orality”. But IMHO, not all correspondence should aim to be more oral.
“Words fly, writings remain”: I precisely use email when I want things written with no way to modify them, like when I want a trace of an expense approval from my boss.
Overall, I am not sure Google has really understood all the reasons why people use email, and were the strong points of email are. I would say emails are used for many different purposes.
Analysing the many characteristics (availability, intimacy, instantaneity, collaboration, multimedia, persistency…) of all our modern communication tools
is a huge task, but one that I feel should be accomplished to be able to assess Wave fairly.
I’ll probably write more about those topics in the future.
For a start I should definitely use it myself :-/