My First Impression of Google Wave

Well, I finally got an invite to Google Wave. I haven’t had much time to play around with it yet, but my first impression is that it could potentially be just the thing I need for collaborative story planning… once they add an export feature.

From most to least bothersome, here are the problems I’ve found so far which aren’t on Google’s list of known issues:

  1. Google seems to have no plans to open-source the web-based client.
  2. There is no export functionality.
  3. As with Google Docs, the design will eventually allow someone else to un-invite me from a Wave I forgot to save a local copy of.
  4. No end-to-end, public-key crypto offering.

Problems 1, 2, and 3 can probably be solved together by writing a custom, open-source client which treats the Wave server the same way git-svn treats a Subversion server. (Ideal, since I consider DVCS-like behaviour to be the ideal data replication model for most things)

Knowing Google, problem 4 will probably have to be solved using something along the lines of OffTheRecord which grafts crypto onto the existing system. The main issue I see being that it’ll be up to the endpoints to “induct” new clients into a wave by translating the existing encrypted history for the newly-added public key.

My overall opinion is that, until export functionality of some kind is available, Wave is a toy at best and, even with export functionality, it won’t replace e-mail or IM for me unless they offer end-to-end crypto. However, if a client-developer (Google or third-party) does offer some sort of export functionality, then it’ll be an ideal successor to Google Docs for me. (I use it only for collaboration since I deeply distrust cloud computing.)

CC BY-SA 4.0 My First Impression of Google Wave by Stephan Sokolow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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