Friday, January 22, 2010

Google Wave? Yes, finally I got the point!

I like Google Wave. Believe me or not but I really got the point! (or at least one of the points)

When I started in Red Hat / JBoss two months ago I soon realized that this company is different then other companies in many ways. One important aspect of this change is that there are a lot of very opened internal communication channels. One of the core communication technology is "a good old mailing list" (there are lot of internal mailing lists). This is typical for open source community to use this communication technology. This is really nothing new. But the problem is how to catch up with the information in mail threads when the communication gets very intensive and spontaneous. I can tell you that there are specific topics which are guaranteed to generate a lot of traffic in our internal mail lists (example Subject: VMware to acquire SpringSource or Subject: Bottom posting sucks! - see below regarding bottom posting). The problem is that there are no rules how to format text in respone to particular email in mail thread. Some people tend to prefer top posting, some bottom posting and some do reply directly in between cutting some of the original text out as well. Then depending on email client settings the original text may start with '>' or just uses different color, etc. Even if you force people to adapt to some rules and use the same email client (which is not the case in Red Hat) then you always have to train new employees which can be difficult and inefficient. So you can imagine that the information can mess up very quickly. And the best solution to this problem I have seen so far is Google Wave!

I think that the reason why Google developed and released Wave is the fact that they are facing this same problem internally as well so they decided to fix it not by regulation (i.e. establishing rules for communication participants) but by innovation (i.e. technology improvement of the communication channel). Also I can now understand why they called it Wave (as it can really deal with information waves).

I think it will take some time for more people to realize that there are big advantages in Wave. We are still too used to use email in an traditional way (yes, email is good but it has limits!). I wouldn't be surprised if open source community would be one of the first adopters of Wave.

Email allows you to send a message but Wave allows more complex communication. Wave is the future.

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