Cup of Joe: Google Wave, Please Give Me Face Touching
So I finally got my invite to Google Wave! I must say that it is rather impressive. I like it a lot and I think it will probably redefine the way that we collaborate in the future. One of the more impressive features is its “real time” chat interface. Which basically means that as a user types the other participants can read the text as it is typed, letter by letter. The feature is kinda overkill, but cool to play with. Wave also gives you the ability to share documents and 3rd party content directly in the interface. So all in all Wave is a sophisticated chat interface that allows you the ability to index and save your conversations the same way you might save an email.
The most amazing thing about Wave is that I like it. Seriously, ever since Twitter has hit the streets, it has been rather hard to peak my interest in new communication technology. Now, I am not saying that nothing compares to Twitter, but honestly, I am starting to feel an LCD overload.
It seems as if we are constantly devising new ways to communicate with each other that doesn’t involve actually sharing the same room. I am tired of that. Don’t get me wrong, I will be first to point out the amazing abilities of modern communication and how it’s a betterment for humanity. Furthermore, some of my closest friends are folks I have never met in person. But, in the same breath I can’t help but ignore that, among the flux of real time communication, something is missing.
When I was in high school I started to lose my hearing. Now, I am partially deaf. I rely on a hearing aid to hear most of the conversations happening around me. Most people that are partially deaf develop a natural ability to read lips. Reading lips isn’t all about “the lips” but tends to be more of a holistic analysis of the entire person. For example a lip reader will focus not only on the lips, but will also monitor body language and facial expressions. Many times, (as in my case) this holistic analysis is done completely subconsciously.
Of course you don’t have to be partially deaf to take a holistic approach to communication. There are many that subconsciously monitor body language and facial expressions. They are called good communicators.
I own a small web development company. We do lots of really cool things for our clients, but we aren’t your traditional company. Basically, we are a team of freelance contractors living and working all over the globe. I like the satellite approach to organization because it allows me to do business with some of the most talented folks in the industry without having to move themor myself–in the process. Despite this decentralized approach, one of my favorite designers to work with lives only about 10 minutes from me. I like working with him because if we need to, we can meet-up and brainstorm in-person. We can go to a bar and have a beer, or cook hamburgers on a grill together (we have done them all).
So it looks like the only thing missing from Google Wave is the ability to actually share the space with the other participants. When I say “share the space”, I mean I want to reach out and touch someone…..on the face.