A couple of weeks ago, I was luck enough to be given an invite to Google Wave.

I clearly remember using Gmail for the first time some 5 or 6 years ago.  Gmail was (very!) fast to use, the design was simple and it just worked!

Gmail is email in a browser.  Nothing more.  At the time, it’s competed with Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, so the learning curve was quite easy.

My expectations were very clear and it was easy to meet them.

Wave is entirely different!  What is it??  Even the Wikipedia article is general and non specific:

equal parts conversation and document

I was reading another review by Cathie McGinn which got me thinking.  I certainly agree that it feels like you are drowning, not waving.

From my understanding, she is using Wave as a collaboration tool, with her focus on the people she works with.  She raised some privacy and general usability issues

Usability I am going to leave.  If you take into context what Wave is doing (realtime collaboration with +100 people at a time) in a web browser, I don’t think there is a whole lot you that can be done right now.  I would give it at least 12 months for the technically and logistical challenges to be fixed.

Her point on privacy was interesting (branch off a conversation as private, but then no ability to approve who is) is a tricky one.

For me, when I first saw Wave, the immediate appeal was for personal, not professional.  Think of Facebook without the noise.  I don’t care if the content in Wave is only updated once a week, so long as it was relevant, accurate and without spam – I would be happy!

What do you think?