Thursday, December 3, 2009

what google wave could mean for writers

Ok, i'm excited about wave. i'll admit that right up front. It contains a possibility for collaboration between writers that just wasn't quite there before. Google docs can't track changes, or differentiate between different user's input. Word can track changes, but you can't work with it online -- everything needs to be sent and downloaded. But wave allows you to work in real time, to see what the other person/people are typing as they type it. Plus the capabilities to delete and edit are great for people composing a joint document through wave.

The playback function means that even if you delete something, it's not completely lost. Users can see what changes were made at what point in the construction of a document. The ability to send content like images and videos means that collaborations have the potential to work in multiple mediums.

The ability to see data as it is typed excites the linguist in me. i wrote a paper about language online; previous chat interfaces have not allowed the same type of real-time communication that wave allows--it was turn-taking conversation rather than the fluid type of conversation we use orally. Wave comes closer to this because it allows simultaneous output, which means you don't disrupt the stream of the conversation if you make a point relating to something said a few text-boxes ago. It may require some development of new manners -- what constitutes interrupting, for instance.

i'm really excited for the joint-writing possibilities. i want to try writing a group poem, a group novel, a new online multimedia text through wave. i want to experiment with the possibilities of using the playback function AS art. Wave is a tool that could be a real boon. Right now the biggest problem is the limited usership. i don't know anyone currently on there who would be interested in working on a project with me.

Who else is on wave? Anyone see potential downfalls? Bugs? Problems?

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