Google Nods to the Future With Wave

Everything Google does gets hype.  So you probably already read all there is known (so far) about Google Wave.  For the two anti-Google people out there in the world that just refuse to read anything about Google, it is said to be a new way to communicate online, based on new concepts of how we interact online.  Of course, I probably lost those two people at “Google”, so I just wasted time writing that.  Guess that makes me a true blogger.  Anyways, there is a really looooonnnggg video about it out there, too.  Which I haven’t watched, because I really just don’t have time.  Is it just me, or does it seem to be blasphemy to put a long video on YouTube,  THE website that proved people are more into short, concise summaries rather than long dissertations covering every detail?

Really?  How much can you talk about a service that is still in planning stages?

Well, the universe didn’t explode when it was posted, so I guess it is okay.  For now.

Everything that Google does usually turns out pretty good.  Even when it is something that doesn’t prove to be popular… like say Lively or Jaiku… they still do a good job with it.  But will Wave prove to be their first major misstep?  I’m thinking there is a slight possibility.

I’m sure it will work great.  I’m sure I will like it.  I’m just not sure it’s going to catch on.  This is what caught my eye, from the blog post quoted ’round the world:

He pointed out that two of the most spectacular successes in digital communication, email and instant messaging, were originally designed in the ’60s to imitate analog formats — email mimicked snail mail, and IM mimicked phone calls. Since then, so many different forms of communication had been invented — blogs, wikis, collaborative documents, etc. — and computers and networks had dramatically improved. So Jens proposed a new communications model that presumed all these advances as a starting point, and I was immediately sold.

What if the reason that email and IM caught on was because they did mimic what we were used to?  What if is had nothing to do with network limitations of the time, or lack of other ideas? Let’s face it – Twitter caught on because it mimicked texting.  Skype caught on because it mimicked phone calls. FaceBook caught on because it mimicked interaction and games from real life.

What if online stuff has to mimic something we are already into before it will catch on?  Most people are attributing the death of virtual worlds to the fact that they just seem too surreal sometimes.

Sorry – as much as I wish virtual worlds would catch on and take over the world, the cold hard truth is they seem to be dying.  Blogs are still kind of popular and kind of not… wikis never truly caught on as a tool (Wikipedia is seem more as an information source than a tool by most people)… and collaborative documents haven’t really caught on yet.

I’m pretty sure I will love Google Wave (as I also love virtual worlds, blogs, wikis, Skype, you name it).  But are we going to lamenting what could have been in a few years, just like we did with Lively earlier this year?  I guess only time will tell.  Twitter was pretty much dying until Oprah and a few other key events breathed some life in to it.  Now it is every where.  Maybe we can get Obama using Google Wave?

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

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