The question about if Google Wave is a productive tool was raised by Robert Scoble in the blog Google Wave’s unproductive email metaphors. I have been a fan of Robert precise way to formulate stories and raise questions like this.
Scroble mentions a lot of applications, which will be much better than Google Wave for collaborating more productively. For all different kinds of collaboration he will use the best suited version. The list he mentions is absolutely correct. What I don’t like about the list is that it requires different applications for different collaborations. This means that everyone should be on friendfeed or on the Wiki. Before the participants starts collaborating, they should decide on which platform to choose. This works nice if it is some tech savvy users, how knows the ins and outs of the applications, but for everyone else it is a large hurdle to overcome. With wave it is just one platform that you need to use.
Like all other social technologies Scroble allows all his followers to contact him, using the technology which really pushes the technology to the limit. For a wave perspective this would emulate very well how a really connected person like a boss or key business person would work. With email it is easy to notify ones boss with BCC, and then the boss knows he does not have to do anything. With wave on the other hand the boss needs to be a participant in the wave, so he can see what is going on. If you could add a secret person it will probably solve this issue. But when the participants continue to collaborate, the wave will continue to get in to the inbox of the boss, and it makes it more difficult for him to find the most relevant waves. The boss will see the text being written in the inbox, which can be distracting.
There is also missing the feature with wave, about how has the next action on an item. If I need someone to decide on something, I would like to mark that he is a key person in this wave. Otherwise he will just see the wave as a continued collaboration, on something he is note involved in. With email you know if something is in your inbox, you have an action on it. A work around could be to mark the persons users as the tag, then you just should search for tag:dgraversen or tag:next-dgraversen, how you would make the context. Idealiy there would also be a part where you can write, what action you expect from him.
I hate getting chats or pings on new waves. It of cause can see that, I need to take care for that wave because the person in the other might want a reply. But when the person is not on the wave anymore it does not make sense, then I just want the pinging wave to be a normal wave. If I need to take care of a wave, it would like to be informed that there is something I need to take care of. I would probably prefer something like when I get an instant message outside of my wave client.
I’m a huge fan of the Getting Things Done method, and try to implement as much as possible in my life. This blog as been written when I was online, but it is not always the case. With Wave it is currently not possible to be offline, but does it make sense to be offline when collaborating? I don’t know how this can be solved. But I when I do writing or thinking, I don’t want to be disturbed, and just focus on the task at hand.
If not Google solves some of these issues, it will create a marked for third party solutions, which could compete on having a more productive platform.
Image by Drpoulette