Thanksgiving has come and gone this year. I hope you had a peaceful holiday. It seems Thanksgiving Day is always a day filled with various conversations that take place as dinner is being prepared and while one is waiting for the next football game to start. This Thanksgiving was no exception at our home, but now I am wondering how many families stopped long enough to engage in a conversation about Google Wave. That's right. You read correctly. We actually had a brief conversation about Google WAVE. I think it was Aaron who asked the question: "Ok, I waved, is anybody going to wave back?" To this Daniel grinned and said that he, too, had noticed that it doesn't seem to do a lot of good if you wave and no one waves back. What is with that? We collectively wondered aloud!
I received my invitation to Google WAVE on November 12, 2009, but I have been reading about it since May 28, 2009, when Google announced the WAVE to the world at its I/O developer conference. A follow up post on May 31, 2009, was even more interesting, particularly the comments by Yefim Natis. I was encouraged to sign-up to be a Google WAVE beta tester on July 22, 2009. But I believe I didn't follow up on that suggestion, as I was busy working on a number of Webconsuls' projects at the time. So when the big day came, September 30, 2009, I did not get one of the 100,000 original invitations. But that does not mean that I didn't follow the WAVE's progress along the way. On October 19, 2009, I enjoyed reading a TIME Magazine piece by Lev Grossman, Google Wave: What's All the Fuss About?
I think it was shortly thereafter that I began to really think about the WAVE. Some press was good and some press was negative, was the WAVE alternately and literally at its crest and ebb with each passing day? A friend questioned why I was not in a rush to be part of the WAVE. My immediate answer was really twofold and it continues to take shape, even now that I have my invitation and can send invitations to my friends.
Here are my thoughts:
1) I spent about eight years in an IT department where part of my job description included Quality Assurance, either directly or in a supervisory position. Quality Assurance or QA, as it is known in the business, is a very fancy name for being a TESTER. Test the system until you can break it! I believe the average pay for a QA with a few years experience is somewhere between $45,000 and $60,000. Now, let's multiply $50,000 X 100,000 beta testers for Google WAVE. What you must understand about QA and what Google figured out a long time ago is this: Testing has a way of sucking you in...not unlike a rip current! It is hard to stop, once you start. And many people want to be able to say they were in on the ground floor of this WAVE. Be assured Google is good about listening to your comments ("test defects"), as they are anxious to have a good product. They will make you feel "valuable", albeit you are an unpaid volunteer.
2) While I love the beauty of the ocean, as a youngster I had many bad experiences with rip currents. Growing up in Southern California the beach becomes part of your life, but it can mean certain death. Therefore, the word WAVE has not always had a pleasant connotation. Let's think about it: tidal wave (OMG), permanent wave (ugly hairdos), microwave (makes you sterile if you are not careful), brain wave (you hope you have them, but it is bad news if people are looking for them), rogue wave (think The Perfect Storm), wave of nausea (TMI), heat wave, cold wave, seismic wave, good-bye wave (almost always sad).
As I close today, I invite you to read a few more articles:
Google Wave May Be The Future, But the Future is Not Real Time
Why Google Wave Sucks and Why You Will Use It Anyway
Google's Infinite Strip
And...I want to share with you a YouTube video about the Laguna Beach Greeter (notice it is not the Laguna Beach waver). There was a time when the only road to travel between San Diego and Los Angeles was the Pacific Coast Highway. One of my most vivid childhood memories was riding along PCH with my family and seeing Eiler Larsen, the greeter who welcomed all who traveled through Laguna Beach until 1975. He waved his hand...it was a good WAVE.
As always, let me know what you think and leave a comment if you want an invitation.