Google Wave
“Alright, I’m in. ‘Cause there’s some next level shit going on and I’m OK with that.”

– Will Smith, Men In Black –

I have seen the future, and it is Google Wave.  That having been said, I have also seen the present, and it is using Google Wave.  Allow me to explain:

I’ve been riding the Wave for about a week now, and I have to say that my first impression was: WOW!  So were my second, third and fourth impressions.  Wave pretty much takes everything I like about the internet and puts it together in one convenient package.  I am – frankly – astounded at the things it allows me to do.  This is (as Will Smith so succinctly put it) next level shit.  Wave is billed as a collaboration tool and it certainly fills that bill (although I have to admit that I haven’t yet had the opportunity to use it as such – so far I’ve just been playing).  It also works well as a replacement for E-Mail, instant messaging and just about any other variety of social media you care to name.  I’m not making this up – Google Wave rocks.  And it is the future of online communication.  This is not to say that the big ‘G’ will be the provider of said future, no more than Outlook personifies E-Mail (despite the fact that many people actually believe this to be the case).  It’s not Wave that’s the future, but rather what Wave represents.  And what it will become.

Unfortunately, the internet is – in a nutshell – a network that exists to connect people.  And, in case you haven’t noticed, people are pretty stupid (in general, not individually.  You are very smart).  This means that many of the people currently using Google Wave (probably the majority of them) aren’t really getting it.  And this is where the present comes in.  The sad fact is that we have an incredible wealth of technology at our disposal, yet most people only use it to send sideways smiley faces to each other.  So most of the people riding the Wave (that I have been exposed to) are basically just treating it as though it’s a chat room with bells and whistles.  I say this to illuminate, not to denigrate.  My Darling Wife initially shied away from the Wave, viewing it as being too complicated to readily adopt.  She changed her tune after I pointed her attention to two things:  1)  E-Mail is a complicated unknown when we’re first exposed to it, and 2) You can use Wave without knowing how to access all of its functionality (or any of it, for that matter).  At first glance, Google Wave looks very much like an online forum or the comment threads on any of a number of web sites.  And this is where I feel a need to warn the average user:  Google Wave is NOT anonymous.

Let me repeat that.  Wave is NOT anonymous.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  Wave requires you to have a Google account (which is your Gmail account).  Your Wave address and your Gmail address are functionally the same (@googlewave vs. @gmail).  This means that anyone you talk to in Wave has access to your E-Mail address.  Is this a problem?  If it is, you should stay away from the Wave.  If it isn’t, you’re probably the kind of person I’d like to include in my Waves.

Like I said:  Next level shit.  And that means you have to take personal responsibility for it.  Welcome to the new millennium.