November 15th, 2009
Waiting for the (Google) Wave to wash over me
By Jennifer Peebles
It takes two to tango. It also takes two to Wave.
As my blog-colleague here at Net Worked Amanda Maurer wrote recently, Google Wave is out and the invites are going around. I lucked into one and I’ve messed around a little bit with it.
Wave integrates elements of e-mail (er, Gmail), instant messaging, chat and interactive documents. It looks very, very cool.
I think Google Wave has the potential to revolutionize how large newsrooms large and small share information. It could create the ultimate collaboration system that opens the creative process to everyone involved in producing the daily news report — reporters, editors, designers, copy editors, photographers and Web producers.
The problem is, reporters, editors, designers, copy editors, photographers and Web people aren’t on Google Wave. At least not in my newsroom. Indeed, not in most newsrooms I know of. Not yet, at least.
I only know 3 people on Google Wave, and, while they’re fine folks, I don’t work with any of them. So I can’t tell you for certain whether Google Wave is really as cool a newsroom collaboration tool as I think it might be. I’ve never had to share a story or a presentation or a spreadsheet with any of my three contacts on Google Wave. Or haggle with them over a headline while the copy desk chief looms over my desk, smoke spewing from his ears, and says, “We have to have that story NOW!”
And it’s not just me. I sense there are a bunch of folks out there who got Google Wave invites but, because they don’t have any other contacts on Wave (or any other contacts they care to Wave at/with), they sit and look at their monitors and think, “What the heck do I do with this dang thing?”
I asked one of my digital sherpas, Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle, when will other people I know get on Google Wave? He could not offer me much consolation, saying Google is slowly rolling out the invites. Darn.
If I can ever use Google Wave in a real, rubber-hits-the-road newsroom environment, I’ll put it through its paces and see if it’s really as cool and as barrier-breaking a collaboration tool as I think it could be. When I do that, I’ll offer a full report here. Until then, all you’ll get from me is the sound of one hand Waving.
Jennifer Peebles is deputy editor of Texas Watchdog in Houston, Texas. She’s @jpeebles on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org. Please Wave at her. She’s lonely.