Is Google Wave Useful?

The BookDepository

In the last few days Google Wave has started to be used by a growing number of book bloggers. For those of you who don’t know, Google Wave is a collaborative tool that allows people to discuss a topic, or edit a document in real time. I have only used it for a limited period of time, but am not convinced that it will be much use to bloggers on a day-to-day basis.

So far the majority of ‘waves’ are discussion threads, which would be much better if available on a blog, accessible to everyone. I know that people are only experimenting with Wave at the moment, but I find the privacy of Wave worrying. I don’t like the fact that people have to be invited to join in a discussion and worry that new bloggers would find it very hard to be able to join in to the community. It all feels very cliquey, in a way that blogging and Twitter have managed to avoid.

Yesterday I set up a quick poll on Wave, to see if people thought it was useful and almost everyone thought that it would be. A few people expressed concerns about the private nature of Waves, but most thought it would be a beneficial tool.

One of the better aspects of Wave is the ability to import all its functionality into a blog post, but I am unsure as to how this will work. In the interest of science I have included the poll I created yesterday below. Unfortunately it won’t be visible in Internet Explorer, but please can you let me know whether you are able to see it with other browsers. I am particularly interested in whether those without a Wave account are able to view/edit the Wave now that I have made it public.

[wave id=”[wave id=”!w+0sF8bM7VC” server=””]


For those that can’t see the above box – here is a screen shot of it:



I can see that Wave is a great tool for writing joint posts or working together on a bigger project, but it isn’t going to be somewhere I visit daily. If you are lucky enough to have access to Wave, please add me (farmlanebooks (at) googlewave (dot) com) as contact!

Have you found Google Wave useful?

Do you think you’ll use it regularly?

Send to Kindle


  1. I like your point about cliqueyness – I’m a new blogger on the scene myself and I think it’s important that new voices get a chance to be heard. That’s always been one of the big plusses of online networking/blogging in the first place!

    Twitter is especially good for being inclusive (although you do feel like a bit of a crazy eavesdropper at first).

    1. Jackie says:

      Hi Lija! Thank you for commenting on my blog for the first time! I think everyone feels a bit like an eavesdropper on Twitter at times, so I wouldn’t worry about it. I really hope that Wave doesn’t lead to secretive discussions, as I do like the fact that most things are out in the open at the moment. Let me know if there is anything I can do to make life easier for a new blogger.

  2. Okay, I want to know how you exported it, and how you gave everyone access to the wave.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jen, How did you guess what tomorrow’s blog post will be!? I’m still learning a lot about it, but hope to be able to have the basics of blog export up tomorrow.

      1. Jackie says:

        Jen, My wave post ended up being long enough just covering the basics, so I’ve sent an email to you. Basically you install the wavr plugin to add waves to a post.

  3. Laura says:

    I can see the poll and the export (I use Firefox). I have access to Wave for an experiment at work but haven’t done much with it yet. Now going to add you to my contacts …

    1. Jackie says:

      Laura, Thank you for adding me as a contact! Once I can work out how to view my contacts, or find you, then I’ll add you.

  4. Lu says:

    Well I think the point of Wave is to provide something that blogs and Twitter do not. If Wave did exactly what Twitter or blogs do we would be complaining just as much because it wasn’t innovative. I love that you can export our thread! That’s awesome. What I like about it is the collaboration and the possibilities for projects and conversation. I think that the exclusivity of it will diminish as it gets more public. Twitter is limited as a quick, fast-paced public conversation. Blogs are limited in that they are not a real-time conversation, there is a large lag in the conversation between what I say and what the people who comment say and then what I reply with. Wave solves that problem by combining the best of both worlds. Not unlike a traditional forum, but on a much larger scale. I’m all for Wave, I love that it does not try to make either blogs or twitter obsolete, it just tries to fill another niche that will be useful across the board, with work and blogs and just plain fun.

    I think we’ll only be able to see how useful it is for blogging specifically as we use it more and more, but I’m not ready to dismiss it yet! :) Great discussion!

    1. Jackie says:

      Lu, Perhaps my problem is that I don’t collaborate much – I tend to work independantly and so I don’t see many things where I’d use wave. It will be interesting to see how it develops, but I’m not scared that I’ll become addicted to wave in the way I was worried about facebook and twitter – I find wave very easy to ignore.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Your post is super helpful–I keep seeing references to Google Wave around and had no idea what it was!

    1. Jackie says:

      Stephanie, I’m pleased to be useful!

  6. Sandy says:

    I have no idea if I have access…I’m pretty sure that I should have. I’ve not heard a word about it. Will have to dabble and see what I can find.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, To get access you need an invitation from someone. I’m afraid I haven’t got any, but I’m sure that if you asked on your blog someone whould have one – most seem to be getting distributed via twitter, so that is why you haven’t heard about it before now. Good luck!

      1. Sandy says:

        I did some looking around, and I have filled out a form requesting an invitation. But yes, if someone wants to invite me out there, that would be great! As you know I’m a little slow technically, but right away, I could see the advantage of this whenever we post collaberative posts. When C.B. James and I did ours on Blindness, it took forever, going back and forth. I’m intrigued. Any additional tips you can offer would be great!

        1. Jackie says:

          Sandy, I hope that you find an inviation soon! It is interesting to read that you are interested in signing up to wave when you have ignored twitter for so long – perhaps they just appeal to different people and I am just a twitter person?

        2. Carrie K. says:

          Sandy – I just sent you an invite. :)

  7. Steph says:

    Well, this is the first I’ve even heard of this Wave thing, so I’m not sure what that even says! I am a lame grad student, so my first thought was about how this would be useful in that respect, but I guess I don’t personally see it being a big gamechanger when it comes to blogging, at least not at my site. I guess my thing with all of this is that if you want to chat with someone, there are already so many programs (like Gchat) that let you do that, and so I’m not sure I understand how this improves on that, except for the whole ability to export the conversation… I can’t be 100% certain until I learn more, but I largely suspect this is something I won’t make much use of!

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, I think that it is probably useful for students – especially if you need to work with someone on a project, but as a blogger I think it has limited uses. I prefer to email someone if I have a question to ask. It will be interesting to see what applications are developed for it in the future, but I think it is pretty useless as it is now.

  8. Andi says:

    I haven’t been sold yet, so thanks for weighing in on this. I’m still on the maybe side.

    1. Jackie says:

      Andi, It is good to know that I’m not alone – I was beginning to feel as though I was the only one not in love with google wave!

  9. Belle says:

    I’m viewing right now from my iPhone and see the box to sign into Google Wave (can’t unfortunately because I don’t remember my password!) So it does seem like one has to have a Wave account and be signed in to view the export, at least on Safari on the iPhone.

    I’ve only been on Wave a short while. I got into a set of waves because I caught wind of them via Twitter and asked to be included. The real time aspect of it is fun, but it’s too bad you can’t have public waves that you can search for, as well as by invite only ones.

    1. Belle says:

      Hmmm. It appears I’m mistaken and there are public waves I can search for. I guess maybe once there are more people on Wave, there should be more going on.

      1. Jackie says:

        Belle, Yes – it is possible to make waves public – I think that is a potential problem – you could be having what you think is a private conversation with someone and then one of the people can just make it public – there needs to be a way of locking a conversation to ensure that all particiapants agree to it being made public.

  10. ColleenFL says:

    I’ve only had access to Google Wave for a couple days. So far I’ve mostly just been looking around at public waves, but I have gotten into a couple of nonpublic waves. Right now with limited people participating in Wave it is hard to find people to Wave with. Maybe a book blogger will put together a listing of book bloggers on Wave.

    1. Jackie says:

      ColleenFL, I’ll do a post with more information about google wave tomorrow. I’ll look into creating a list for book bloggers to add themselves to.

  11. SuziQoregon says:

    I’m still making up my mind . . .

    1. Jackie says:

      SuziQoregon, Let me know when you’ve made up your mind!

  12. Kirsty says:

    I have literally just got myself onto Google Wave this afternoon (I’ve added you by the way!) so I’m still very much finding my feet. I like the look of it so far, but we’ll see… I would definitely like to join in any booky discussions going on on there.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kirsty, Thank for adding me! I still haven’t worked out a way to see who has added you as a contact, so don’t know how to connect with you. Hopefully I’ll work it out soon.

  13. J. Kaye says:

    Thank you so much for explaining this to me. I recently heard about this through one of the housewives of blogville county, but didn’t get the concept of how it works. I already book chat on Twitter and my blog. I can’t see why this would appeal. Maybe I am missing something.

    1. Jackie says:

      J Kaye, I think the only benefit for bloggers is when you need to work together on a project, but that isn’t very often and can be done already via email. Things might change as it develops, but there isn’t much for me yet.

  14. Annabel says:

    I’ve not been invited yet, but am not (as yet) bothered by it! I like Twitter, I like email, I like blogging, and for two way conversations there’s always Google chat … However I’m sure that as it gets more popular I’ll join in, as I do hate to be left out – Oh, I can see I’m beginning to talk myself into requesting an invite!

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, I’m not massively interested in these things, but I hate to feel left out too. I probably won’t use it much, but I won’t know until I try! I think there are lots of invites floating around now, so I don’t think it will be a problem to get one.

  15. Aarti says:

    I agree that the privacy of Wave is annoying, but I also think it probably has more of a business purpose than the way we are using it. Maybe we book bloggers should make an online forum for ourselves!

    1. Jackie says:

      Aarti, I agree – it isn’t built for us. It is most useful as a business tool for people working on joint projects. I’m sure we’ll be able to find some good uses for it, but others will have their work improved a lot by it.

  16. Kathleen says:

    Well I have to confess I have been completely ignorant about the existence of Google Wave. I will do more research and see what I think. I’m somewhat slow to embrace things I have to learn that are new since I am so busy already. I haven’t gotten into Twitter but I know I will at some point. Thanks for sharing all of the great information. I work in high tech so you’d think I’d be more of an early adopter but sadly, I am not!

    1. Jackie says:

      Kathleen, At least you can now look into it a bit more – sometimes it is best to leave things for a while before getting involved, so all the bugs are fixed and everyone can help you. I think we are all stumbling round in the dark to some extent with GW at the moment!

  17. I’ve just been invited but have no idea how to use Wave so I’m afraid that I’m nowhere near being able to answer your questions yet!

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, Let me know when you’ve set yourself up – it would be good to have you as a contact.

      1. I’m there and you should be able to find me under my email address. I added you as a contact but, as I said, I have no idea how to work it and finding my feet will have to wait until after my weekend away.

  18. Simon S says:

    Hmmm I dont know if this is for me. I like the idea but with facebook, twitter etc etc isnt it all getting a bit much? I would only get addicted and then not do any reading which for me would defeat the point.

    Having said that am sure by mid 2010 I will be using it and thinking its amazing ha!

    1. Jackie says:

      Simon, I’m not sure you can get addictive to wave. It seems more like a work tool. You never worry about getting addicted to microsoft excel (well I assume you don’t!) and I’d put these two together. I’m not sure why you’d want to use it, but don’t worry about the addiction factor.

  19. Beth F says:

    It’s big advantage is if you are working with people on a project — from readathon or BBAW to trying to co-review a book. You can also do a wave with only two people to have a longer discussion and a private discussion — it’s so much faster than email.

    But it’s also yet another time sink.

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, I think those sorts of projects will benefit from google wave, but they aren’t something I will use every day – I think I will probably find GW amazing 3 or 4 times a year, but will ignore it for the rest of the time.

  20. Louise says:

    I haven’t been able to try it yet – in fact I am not sure I even know for sure what it is ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      Louise, I’m sure you’ll know all about it soon!

  21. David Nolan says:

    I think I’ll let this wave wash over me, for the time being at least. Sorry, when that line popped into my head I just had to use it.

    I use Gmail, and I’m currently using Google Reader too, but I do worry a little (not a lot, there are more important things to be concerned with) about Google’s increasing dominance of the online world.

    1. Jackie says:

      David, I think one of the great things about GW is that they are putting all the API code out there, so that people can develop all their own add-ins. I’m afraid I don’t worry about too much google – I admire a company that can produce so many great things.

  22. Teresa says:

    I’m not (yet) on Wave and I’ve been skeptical about it, partly because of the potential for cliquishness and partly because of the addictive tendencies Simon mentions. Although it occurs to me that when I wasn’t on Twitter, I thought Twitter was a clique creator, and I’ve found that not to be the case. I think as long as the people organizing discussions and whatnot are open to inviting anyone who’s interested, then it’s cool. It all has to do with the people involved.

    I can see it being really useful for planning projects together. It seems more immediate than e-mail, less confining than Twitter. Someone’s supposed to be sending me an invite soon, so I’ll probably be checking it out soon enough.

    1. Jackie says:

      Teresa, You are right – it is all about how people use the application as to whether it feels cliquey, but I think that even if people do their very best there will always be a barrier to new bloggers. If things aren’t in the public domain then it can take a lot of courage for someone to request access and they will therefore feel left out. I will try my best to ensure this doesn’t happen, but I think it is inevitable to some extent.

      1. Teresa says:

        Excellent point! It seems that any of us on Wave need to be deliberate about inviting newbies to join in since the discussions aren’t public. I have been impressed about how open people are to sharing their invites and to mention new Waves to join on Twitter, but once it’s more established, people may forget to mention ongoing Waves.

        To reach a different audience with the invites, I may offer mine up on my blog instead of on Twitter so that bloggers who aren’t on Twitter can get a chance to try it out. Probably not until next week, though.

  23. I’ve been having a bit of a play with Google Wave, ever since Google sent me an invite, and I absolutely love parts of it. In fact, I already wish we were allowed to use this at work, as right now, anytime I’m working with the guys who are located elsewhere, it’s a nightmare. We end up doing netmeeting sessions, but, if the network connection’s slow, the netmeeting shared desktop is fundamentally useless.

    I am on Twitter but I don’t use it at all. I don’t really get the point of it, and the thought of expressing myself in x characters or less is an instant turn off. I found myself thinking how would Holden Caulfield (from Catcher In The Rye) ever survive in the world of tweets. I doubt he would. Anyway, I digress, which Holden would approve of…

    With respect to Wave & Blogging, not sure how it would work, or why one would use it, in day to day non-collaborative blogging. As a collaborative tool, it’s incredible. The other thing is, I can’t use Wave on the iPhone, which sucks, considering over 50% of the smartphone market are iPhone users. This is probably due to Wave still being in beta, and working on a mobile platform side by side.

    I’m still playing with Wave, and trying to acquaint myself with it. Was tempted to move my google reader subscriptions on to it, but it seems pointless. Will add you next time I log on to Wave :)

    By the way, if anyone needs an invite, let me know. I still have a couple hanging around.

    1. Jackie says:

      anothercookiecrumbles, Thank you for your thorough explanation – that is exactly how I viewed it – a great work tool, but not that useful for bloggers.

      I don’t have an i phone, but can see why it would make sense for GW to be able to be used on one. I’m sure that it will be in development.

      I look forward to waving with you!

  24. bookmagic says:

    I just got my invite yesterday from another blogger. I haven’t really played around with it yet as I don’t quite understand it. So no real opinion yet from me except it seems confusing

    1. Jackie says:

      bookmagic, it is really confusing for a new user. I’ve written a beginner’s guide today, so hopefully that will help you to get started.

  25. Beth says:

    Thanks for this great post, I didn’t know about Google wave until I read your post, I have gone onto the sign up page and applied for an invite.
    Hugs, Bethxx

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, I hope that you get an invite soon – make sure you let me know when you’re on there, so I can add you to some waves.

  26. Jeane says:

    My husband told me about Google Wave just a few days ago, and I had difficultly understanding exactly what it was or how it would be useful to me. Your post has certainly cleared some of that up, thanks! Although I’m not sure yet if I want to join in on it or not.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jeane, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to sign up when I first heard about it – but I’m too nosey to ignore a new craze!

  27. Thanks Jackie for such a fantastic googlewave explanation. I have been hearing a bit about googlewave and had no clue.

    Without actually have used the wave, I am thinking that for bloggers the possible use could come in when a two or more bloggers are collaborating on a book review. maybe??

    I am curious though but uncertain if this will be a helpful tool for me, most likely not. Still…curious.

    Thanks again for the time you took to explain this new wave…ha.

  28. Rebecca Reid says:

    I have Firefox 3.5.5 and for some reason it doesn’t think I do so I have a hard time logging in and I don’t think it looks right.

    I have logged in a few times and i don’t get it. I don’t get the point, I don’t have any idea how to add a friend or contact, I don’t have any idea what I’m supposed to be looking for.

    And I don’t think I need another time suck. Blogging and twitter and reading keep me busy enough. Maybe if they make it work with Firefox 3.5.5 I’ll figure it out.

  29. Mel u says:

    For research purposes last night I did a search in Google Wave for wave with “philippines” in the title-I found about 50 of them-some general waves-some quite specific-for example there is one for St THomas grads-people are just starting to use it and will soon have lots of uses

    one negative seems to be a privacy issue-I orginally received an invite to google wave addressed to a g mail that has my full name in it-after some reflection I sent an invite to google wave to my blog specific gmail address and then invited myself into all the book blogs I am interested in-after that I stopped following in blogs in the gmail based on my real name-

    it seems so far once you create a wave anybody in the wave you invite can then invite anyone else-

    you can create a private wave that a wave search will not find (or at least that is how I understand it so far)-

    it will, in time, be big in the book blogger world-I can already see a book blogger week wave coming with who knows maybe 500 to 1500 bloggers in it in 2010-

    the interface in wave takes a bit of getting used to but it pretty simple once u play with it

    I guess the more book bloggers on wave the better? do we want to offer invite to readers or followers of our blog-?


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