Google Wave

It’s not surprising that expectations for Google Wave got way ahead of reality. The all-purpose Web-based communication and collaboration tool is one of the most ambitious things the company has come up with this year.

So it’s also not surprising that some early users of the service, which opened for tests in September, have been critical. Robert Scoble, never one to bite his tongue, was outspoken in his own views.

When I met the Wave’s lead developers at Google in Mountain View recently they were open about the service’s shortcomings, and outlined the changes they are working on.

That is likely to start with an end to the anarchic free-for-all that lets any participant in a Wave change or delete anything another user has written. Read more

Google Wave has been all the talk this week, with the instant-messaging on steroids collaboration tool – yes, we know that’s a gross oversimplification – expanding its reach to 100,000 beta testers.

FT techtalk, a much more modest beta launched on Friday  using CoveritLive’s service, is instant messaging with just a few bells and whistles.

Below is the transcript of the FT San Francisco bureau’s review of the week’s tech news and look forward to what’s coming next in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Please join us next week at the same time. Your questions and comments will be welcome and included in the stream…or small wave… that we hope to create here LIVE…at 0800 Pacific time, 1500GMT, 1600BST on Fridays. Read more

That was the verdict of Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s top software guru, when I got to ask him last night what he thought about Google’s hugely ambitious attempt to remake email, IM and, um, just about everything else.

He was speaking at the Churchill Club in San Francisco about his efforts to prepare Microsoft for the architectural shift to cloud computing (commenting on the PC-centric view of the world that dominated thinking at the company when he arrived, he confessed: “It was a bit scary”).

But it is his deep thinking and original work around collaboration that has defined most of Ozzie’s career, from Lotus through Groove Networks. So isn’t Wave the culmination of what he himself had been working towards – a collaboration tool with the power to transform the way groups of people work together? Read more

OK, so Mike Arrington went a bit over the top yesterday in declaring Google Wave “one of the most ambitious and exciting products the tech world has seen in a long while.”

And you have to bear in mind, as Rob Koplowitz at Forrester warns, that any time Google claims to have “reinvented” something it gets the rest of us talking, even if it’s often hard to assess the eventual impact of projects like this (at least it balanced Microsoft’s claim the same day of having reinvented search.)

Still, there was something charmingly excessive about the idea of sending a team of hot-shot developers to Australia for a couple of years to work on a secret project, then jetting them to San Francisco for an 80-minute demo in front of 4,000 eager developers (YouTube video here.) Lars Rasmussen’s rock-star status as creator of Google Maps had already guaranteed him an easy ride in front of this crowd.

In reality, like a lot of these things, Wave is both more and less than it seems. Read more