Why Google Wave sucks


I guess I just don’t get it. Google releases what is meant to be an organized threaded discussion solution (Google Wave) and my first thought after a few initial tests a month or so ago was “What is this CHAOS?”. I couldn’t easily invite a friend that wasn’t on Google Wave into a discussion. Once I was a part of 10-20 waves (discussions) it became even more frustrating. The interface is just a mess. Not simple enough for new users to adapt to, while at the same time being too scattered to quickly use once you get the hang of it.

So far I definitely recommend giving FriendFeed a shot! You can easily sign up (no need for invites). Once signed up, you can easily add friends you’re connected with on other networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and even place them in groups so you can focus on what is going on with certain blocks of people (like you can with Twitter apps like TweetDeck). You also have the option of attaching updates from any of up to 58 social networks you’re signed up up. Want people to see your YouTube videos, blog posts, Flickr photos, Tweets all together…..you can do that.

And when it comes to threaded discussions on a specific topic, about a specific project or task, you can quickly create a group and share the group URL across the web for people to join (like a group of us are doing here with Digital Disciples). And as a kicker, you can update your FriendFeed status and carbon copy Twitter (and onto Facebook if those are linked).

Are you using Google Wave? What have been your thoughts? Have you tried FriendFeed? If so, feel free to add me here!

  1. Although I don’t hate Wave, it’s not exactly ideal for me. First off, instead of integrating it with my current Google account they give you a new address, etc., and hardly anyone I want to communicate with uses the site.

    I have FriendFeed but don’t use it too often.

    Maybe I’m just too old school with communication.

  2. No, you don’t get it. It’s not what you were looking for. But when you plan an event, a presentation, a project, and someone sends an email that gets discombpbulated with 57 replies and reply alls, that’s when the lightbulb hits: this would be a good use of waves.

  3. I’ve been using Wave and enjoying it quite a bit. I’ve got a dozen or so co-workers that I invited and we’ve used it as a collaboration tool, cutting down on meetings and getting more done in the process.

    I’ve also used it to get group feedback from some people outside of Tyndale on the Mosaic Bible, for example.

    The live feature is actually quite useful in both use-cases, though not really essential. I haven’t tried FriendFeed, but most of what I’m using Wave for wouldn’t work in a publicly accessible forum anyway.

  4. I’ve only recently begun with Google Wave. But, I don’t see my opinion of it changing anytime soon. So, I figured I’d go ahead and share (but before I do… Yes, I’m very well aware that Wave as we know it is only a developer preview): it’s a great CONCEPT. There, that’s it. I’m done.

    No, seriously, that’s it. Google Wave AS IS is a proof of concept. It has a long way to go before it’s a conveniently usable product.

    I recently plugged Lifestream into my blog, but I think I’ll go give FriendFeed a second (third?) chance…


  5. mykl snyder

    I watched the YouTube of their presentation a couple months ago (from a Google developer’s conference?), and got an invite from a friend, but have no real use for it, so I won’t figure out if I like it or not. I’m just a substitute teacher who’s always geeked out about new tech.

  6. Gabe,

    First time commenting here – I’m another tech guy here in Columbus. Saw you referenced at Ben Arment’s blog, I think.

    I doubt that ‘threaded discussion’ will be the meat and potatoes of Google Wave, which seems to be what you are looking to find in it. I think it will do well in the space the usefulness of a wiki, but with a lower barrier of entry for any group to set up.

    With that said, it is chaotic, confusing, and much less useful if the people you would actually use it with aren’t on it.

    This one truly is a beta.

  7. Keith Williams:
    Thanks for the comment. You can create private groups within FriendFeed, and since it uses AJAX the most current responses rise to the top of the page without a refresh being needed. The biggest advantage for me is that FriendFeed provides a nice URL and an RSS feed for your group pages (so you don’t have to login to know what is going on). Interesting to hear how you are using Wave! Congrats on the work you’re doing!

  8. Nick P:
    Glad to hear you’re in the Columbus area. Maybe we can connect sometime soon! Interesting to hear Ben Arment referenced me. Have had a few phones calls with him. Have a link to the post that was included in? It’s really been interesting using FriendFeed, since it combines both threaded discussions with a real-time chat feel as well.

  9. I think it was a mention on twitter when he was talking w/ you. Hard to search historically on twitter though.

  10. In a way I agree with Rick and Keith. I like to relate it to Apple’s MacBook Air… for most tech people it’s chaotic and a big mess, but it’s not designed for them, it’s designed to be used in “Business” environments where people need to work together to do this or that, planning things (such as meetings and things to discuss in those meetings) or writing documentations over an extended period of time involving in excess of two or three people. Coming from an area where they still use email sent to many people and messes of replies Google Wave is a Godsend!

    Yet, just like the MacBook Air, some people do need that firewire port, that optical drive or that ethernet jack… but for the ones who want it for the specialised tasks it’s designed for it’s fantastic!

    God Bless
    – Ben

  11. I use wave… and I’m pretty sure it’s not in the same market as freindfeed. Sure Wave has a long way to go, it’s still in preview. And sure it’s uninterpretable by your standard internet user, even many advanced users find it hard to work out what everything does… so yeah, it is a bit of a mess… but it works. And does what I want it to do, so I like it

  12. I’ve had a couple of Wave invites and nothing’s really happened with them. I have a sneaky suspicion that it might be a real white elephant for Google although they are big and clever. All I see on Twitter, LinkedIN, etc. these days is “Google Wave invites for free, anyone want ’em?”

  13. Hey Gabe,

    Chaos is probably taking it a ‘little’ too far, but not much. Here’s what I DO like about it:

    -really simple to instantly share photos or docs between groups of people.

    -easy to add tons of people to a wave.

    Here’s what I hate about it:

    -get more than 15 people in a wave, add a widget and a few ‘blips’ and it becomes unusable – loading time is a killer.

    -wave conversations often devolve into simple chat rooms.

    I like friendfeed quite a bit, but I think I’m just becoming overloaded with all these sites. time to trim back and simplify, I think.

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  15. Tried it, don’t really see the point. I invited some people to join to see if others started using it and had better opinions, but I feel that old fashioned email is the best way to go, even Twitter DMs seem a better system than “the wave”. Sounds good in principle, but the learning curve is one you just don’t want to take!

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