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» TMO Talk » Web » Google Wave (Page 3)

 
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Author Topic: Google Wave
Amy
Transatlantic temptress
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Thanks for the invite, Mikee! <3
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Ringo

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inevitable
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New Way Of Decay

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What the fuck? Most people found it difficult to get invited to the fucking thing.

--------------------
BUY A TICKET AND WATCH SOME METAL

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dang65
it's all the rage
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I loved the originality of Wave, and I'm sure that a lot of its features will make their way into other applications in the future, but I never found one other person who had any enthusiasm for it, including the sort of IT geeks I work with all the time.

No one seemed to be able to think of anything they would use it for, even though there isn't much online which it couldn't be used for. But that's the way with a lot of new stuff. It needs to be sneaked in without anyone noticing, not raved about as the new big thing. People don't seem to like that much. Not with technology anyway.

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Ringo

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Just seemed like a stab at reinventing the wheel to me. I do appreciate that it probably was an improvement over current email systems, but the problem is that most people are perfectly happy with current email systems. They work nice and simply, and make sense to people. It's hard to convince someone that they should part with a system they think is perfectly adequate, and go through the process of learning how to do something in a whole new way, when they don't think there was a problem in the first place.
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dang65
it's all the rage
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Yeah, but that applies to pretty much anything to do with technology, and always has done. The best bet is to just bring this stuff in on the sly so people don't feel it's being foisted on them, then they just start using it.
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Thorn Davis

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Or, developers could try to use technology to solve problems that actually exist.

[ 26.08.2010, 07:52: Message edited by: Thorn Davis ]

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dang65
it's all the rage
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quote:
Originally posted by Thorn Davis:
Or, developers could try to use technology to solve problems that actually exist.

Well, there are different ways of looking at that. I mean, I don't remember there being any "problem" during all those years when SMS didn't exist. It was a joke when it first started. A kind of pointless extra that you got when you bought a mobile phone. Why would anyone want to send stupid little short messages when they can just phone up and talk for an hour, etc. But SMS turns out to have taken off massively, and surely everyone uses it now, even the biggest sceptics. And it's very, very useful.

The same goes for many of the innovations of the Web - Google Maps, eBay... even crap like Facebook and Twitter are totally integrated into a lot of people's lives now.

Google Wave didn't grab people because they don't get it. Which is fine. Maps and auctions online are just simpler alternatives to commonplace activities, so it's not a great leap to understand them.

It's interesting to see how difficult it is for people to grasp new concepts. For example, I made a gadget for Google Wave which split large blocks of text up into "pages" - pagination. Not difficult to grasp. Books are split into pages, after all. But this thing is a lot more fluid, so each "page" has a start word and an end word, but if you change the font size then the start word stays the same but the end word is different, like it would be in a Word document. In this case, instead of a "page number" you would have a "start word number". You could say to someone, "Go to start word 379," instead of "Go to page 23", for example, and whatever font size they were using, the page would be laid out for them with the same start word as you were using and they would be at the point you wanted them to be at.

I got into a bit of correspondence and conversation with people about the paginator I made, and it was this concept of starting at a specific word which threw them. To the point where they didn't feel relaxed with the interface at all. They wanted the text split into fixed pages; a concept they could understand.

It really surprised me, but I've seen similar reactions when showing novices the concept of layers in Photoshop, for example, or explaining extensions on file names, like .doc, .mp3 etc. Operating systems routinely hide those extensions these days, because they really confuse people, just as having .sd9a8adfasdxx87as at the end of a filename would confuse us.

So, what I mean is... fixing a genuine problem is a great idea, but so is introducing new ways of doing old things. But you have to do that really quite subtly, and aim it at the right people who will go with it and make it popular. Google Wave failed with that, but many of its revolutionary ideas will slip into use in time, because they really are great ideas.

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Ringo

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quote:
Originally posted by dang65:
I mean, I don't remember there being any "problem" during all those years when SMS didn't exist. It was a joke when it first started. A kind of pointless extra that you got when you bought a mobile phone. Why would anyone want to send stupid little short messages when they can just phone up and talk for an hour, etc.

Like people had been doing for decades with pagers you mean?
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dang65
it's all the rage
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quote:
Originally posted by Ringo:
Like people had been doing for decades with pagers you mean?

I was going to mention pagers, but the post was already dull enough as it was. [Frown] But, yes, we did use pagers - not sure about "for decades", not as personal users anyway. They were a bit of a trendy gadget in the 80s, in the few years before mobiles took off, but they were a pain in the arse. You had to phone a pager centre and dictate a message. They were receive only devices.

But, the odd thing is that people weren't saying, "Pagers are great, but if only scientists could make them 2-way and you could put your own text in, using the pager itself, that would really solve a big problem for me." Which you would think they would. It's as if people were actually unaware that they had a problem. Same as Google Wave in many ways. People don't realise how scrappy emails are and how much more efficient they can become.

SMS was treated as completely new and a little sideline add-on to mobile phones, which were also rare, luxury objects at first anyway, so it's only when pretty much everyone started getting them that SMS took off.

If anything, pagers put people off the short message concept. Mobiles liberated us from having to use pagers to contact people when they were out and about. But it turns out that SMS is extremely useful in many, many ways. And so it will be with the Google Wave innovations when they start to be introduced to email and chat clients and web forums [fora], possibly in 5 or 10 years time, but it will happen.

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Ringo

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People initially had trouble with SMS in the mid nineties because virtually nobody had a handset which had the capability to send and receive them (my first mobile phone, ironically a Nokia Ringo, couldn’t do it) and the service was painfully expensive. Once cheap digital handsets became available (thanks to the Nokia 5110 mostly) it became really popular.

The thing is, not every new ‘innovation’ is actually an improvement over what we currently do. I don’t doubt there are a great number of tweaks you could make to how emails are handled. Email clients now give you the option of looking at your emails in groups or conversations, and most mobile phones now do this with SMS messages as well. But nobody was shouting about it being the next big thing, because people do understand the difference between something totally new, and something which basically takes what you’ve been doing for years, and presents it in a slightly different way. Except Mac customers of course, since Steve Jobs has been using this as his principle design strategy for the past decade or so.

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Thorn Davis

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I agree with Ringo. In fact I was going to post something similar, except I was at the hospital getting naked and having my skin lightly stroked by an attractive dermatologist. I think I'll go to the Co-op at lunch time and pour some bleach over my chest and genitals so I've got an excuse to go and see her again.

[ 27.08.2010, 06:21: Message edited by: Thorn Davis ]

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Cherry In Hove
Channel 39
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And then you got off the bus!
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Cherry In Hove
Channel 39
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That would have worked a treat if you hadn't said you were at a hospital. Can you edit that bit out?
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Tilde
TMO Member
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Or you can just put LOL and three exclamation marks.
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Ringo

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I can't believe I missed the opportunity to pun that Google were waving goodbye to Google Wave.
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dang65
it's all the rage
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quote:
Originally posted by dang65:
SMS was treated as completely new and a little sideline add-on to mobile phones, which were also rare, luxury objects at first anyway, so it's only when pretty much everyone started getting them that SMS took off.

quote:
Originally posted by Ringo:
People initially had trouble with SMS in the mid nineties because virtually nobody had a handset which had the capability to send and receive them and the service was painfully expensive. Once cheap digital handsets became available (thanks to the Nokia 5110 mostly) it became really popular.

Pretty much the same thing being said there.

quote:
Originally posted by dang65:
But it turns out that SMS is extremely useful in many, many ways. And so it will be with the Google Wave innovations when they start to be introduced to email and chat clients and web forums [fora], possibly in 5 or 10 years time, but it will happen.

quote:
Originally posted by Ringo:
I don’t doubt there are a great number of tweaks you could make to how emails are handled.

Pretty much the same thing being said there.

quote:
Originally posted by Ringo:
people do understand the difference between something totally new, and something which basically takes what you’ve been doing for years, and presents it in a slightly different way.

This is the bit I'm trying to make the point about. People don't understand (or care) whether something is "new" (very rare in the case of inventions) or just a new take on existing technology and possibilities (by far the more common case). It's pretty much irrelevant. Most innovations are just clever new combinations. A lot of the really useful things in HTML5 are actually existing browser vendor creations which have now been officially documented and incorporated by the other browser vendors in agreement. Now people are starting to use them and to think of new uses for them which weren't originally envisioned (the same as IE5's XMLHttpRequest object from 1999 allowed Ajax to evolve and open up endless possibilities on web sites).

Apple and Google, via their smart phones and clever developments, are extremely adept at taking advantage of these technologies. True, people often think that they are doing something completely new. And really, they are. You might as well say that carriages already existed, and engines already existed, so the automobile was not an innovation.

I'd be interested to know what the last out-of-thin-air invention was.

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Ringo

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Well yes, if you want to look at it in those terms, then sure, nothing is ever a new invention whatsoever.

But I'm talking about things which allowyou to do something you weren't able to do before. e-mail was an innovation. SMS messaging is an innovation. But viewing these things in a slightly diffrent way is not really a new invention, it's just taking an old invention, tweaking it ever so slightly and then pretending it's something new. It's not. That's not to say that evolutions of old technology can't be useful, that would be ridiculous, but you shouldn't ever assume that just because something is new, or adds features to something old, that it is guaranteed to be better.

You need to look at it in terms of, does it save time? does it make it easier? does it make it cheaper? As far as I can tell, Google Wave did none of these things, it was just different for different's sake.

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dang65
it's all the rage
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quote:
Originally posted by Ringo:
you shouldn't ever assume that just because something is new, or adds features to something old, that it is guaranteed to be better.

[Confused]

I'm not. I'm not assuming that to be some kind of general rule. I'm just saying that Google Wave does (or did) improve on current methods, greatly.

quote:
Originally posted by Ringo:
You need to look at it in terms of, does it save time? does it make it easier? does it make it cheaper? As far as I can tell, Google Wave did none of these things, it was just different for different's sake.

1. Does it save time?
Yes. Instead of having to quote and reply to points - er, as I'm doing right here, for example - a user can jump right in and respond inside the original message. If you have an exchange going on between, say, you and an employment agent then he can ask a series of questions and you can answer them in situ, and you can ask questions and he can answer them, and all of this stays in one place. No need to hunt through a series of messages trying to find the bit where he said the name of the guy who is going to interview you and the other one where you asked him what documentation you had to take and the other one where he replied and... so on.

2. Does it make it easier?
As above, yes. Also, if that guy goes on holiday then he can just add his colleague to the conversation and there it all is. The colleague can even replay it from the start to see how things progressed.

3. Does it make it cheaper?
Dunno. I think it would save time, which is money, but I wouldn't like to try to measure it all. Yes, I think.

There were quite a few problems with Google Wave, but I think that these innovations will be incorporated into email clients as time goes by.

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Ringo

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Oh I don't doubt it, and I've never said that email categorically can't be improved upon. Just that nobody wants to learn a new system which adds very little to what they're already doing, but takes a large investment of time to retrain on. Plus I never really got the sense that Google Wave was being pitched as a business alternative to the likes of Exchange and the myriad of satellite apps that work through it. It always felt like they were pitching it as a home user market, and trying to drum up the same kind of excitement as there was around gmail many moons ago.

The thing is, as people working in the IT industry, we are well equipped to instantly see the benefits of new systems such as these, and it takes us a lot less time to translate the new way of doing things into what we knew before. But for the average office worker these new systems are incredibly hard to get to grips with, mostly because they're less grounded in physical concepts. They understand that, for instance, I can have a document which I've created, and I can edit that document, or delete it, or I can send it to you, and you can make notes on it, and send it back to me. The same as if we were working with pnysical sheets of paper. What these newer systems do is move away from those old fashioned ways of doing things and allow a more dynamic working style where content isn't attached to a specific document, it is far more abstract and transient. Try explaining things like these to the same people who got flustered moving to Office 2007 becuase the menu bars were contextual rather than fixed, and you'll see why you're fighting a losing battle.

Like you say, maybe the way forward is to gradually introduce these concepts into new workflow systems rather than frighten people by changing too much at once. But I didn't really see anything in Wave that was that revolutionary or useful.

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