I’m a Google Wave Previewer

I used be the first kid on the block (as the Americans like to say) to try new software. My PCs were full of Alpha-this, Beta-that along with utilities I’d forgotten I had. But since I’ve moved to Bangkok I’ve adopted a simpler life. I’ve minimised the software on my one Windows laptop to the tools I really need. I uninstall software I don’t like or use. My Compaq CQ40 is over six months old and it’s still humming along. I view that as an achievement – I am a firm believer in “software rot“.

However I made an exception for Google Wave. I wasn’t on Google’s invite list so I requested an invitation. I wrote the Wave team a humourous (for deadpan me) message telling them they needed testers from Thailand where the internet is slower than they are used to.

A couple of days later they sent me an invitation. I doubt a human read my request – Google is famous for automating everything.

Google Wave Preview

Google Wave Preview. Don't try to use the URL to get your own preview. It's a one time code and I've used it.

I’m interested in Google Wave because it is just the kind of software we talked about at HP (Hewlett-Packard) back in the 1980s and 1990s – easy collaboration on projects over a network. It’s surprising how long it has taken to realise our “vision” (a word we used far too much). Maybe Google consciously referred to our “HP New Wave” name from 1988-9. (I doubt it – I bet half the engineers on the team weren’t born when HP New Wave came out).

I don’t have anyone to collaborate with and I need to view the video that explains the Google Wave approach. That could be challenging in Bangkok. Even though my internet access is faster than it was because of Google Public DNS and the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) it is still creaky, especially at night.

I note how much Google is drawing me into their software ecosystem. Currently I am using:

  • Google.com as my default search engine. I have not seen a good reason to use Microsoft Bing. It’s one annoyance is that Google persists in showing its user interface in Thai. I’ve told Google via my account settings that I want my language to be English but it forgets.
  • Gmail as a secondary email account. My primary email is a Yahoo Mail account I’ve had for over ten years.
  • I have a Google Site but I don’t use it much.
  • Chrome as my secondary browser. I use Firefox most of the time.
  • Google Earth and Google Maps. I use Google Earth a lot for geocoding my pictures in Lightroom via Jeff Friedl’s plugin.
  • Picasa and Picasa Web Albums. I downloaded the former mainly to try its face recognition software. I use Picasa Web Albums as an alternative to Flickr. Picasa will never replace Adobe Lightroom as my Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution nor Adobe Photoshop for heavy picture editing.
  • Google Reader. It gives me too much to read – I have culled many sources I used to follow or I’ll waste too much time on topics of marginal interest. Reader shows many more ads than when I started but they are not intrusive. I note that I am still following seven Google blogs.
  • Google Docs as a repository for certain information. I have not used it much for document creation yet: I don’t trust my Internet connection enough. Potentially I could replace my use of Microsoft Office for routine documents and spreadsheets.
  • I have used Google Translate to translate this blog to Thai. Thai people tell me it does an acceptable job. It works in 149 other languages too. I used it to get a translation of some Thai comments somebody put on two of my Flickr pictures.
  • Google Public DNS. It’s working well for me since I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago.
  • I’ve used Google Webmaster Tools and Google Browser Size to optimise this blog as much as WordPress permits it. I wrote about the latter here. I have not changed this blog as a result of overlaying their contour map on this page however.
  • I have Google Gears enabled for a few sites like WordPress – although I cannot see any benefits. It looks like HTML5 will supplant Gears eventually.

I don’t use Google’s Blogger to host this blog. I consciously sought out a smaller competitor with a good reputation: WordPress. Unlike with ACDSee Pro I have not regretted it.

I am amazed how much I’ve been drawn into Google’s world. But the Bangkok Frugal Photographer hasn’t paid them one satang for the privilege. Amazing.

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8 Responses to “I’m a Google Wave Previewer”

  1. Michael Willems Says:

    Resistance is futile.

    I had a wave account but forget how to log into it. It was linked to the wrong account, or something. Plus, I did not understand what it did. And software that needs a manual is not something I am drawn to.

    Other than that my experience parallels yours. But since Google is more and mroe evil nowadays, this worries me…

    • BKKPhotographer Says:

      I think Google Wave would be useful if we were, for example, jointly developing a training class for you to deliver in Thailand. Superior to mailing slideshows back and forth.

      But yes, in my limited experience using Wave the user interface is far from intuitive. It’s not even a Beta – more like a public Alpha.

      The suspicious side of me wonders if Google created Wave to test some underlying technologies for other purposes and the user interface isn’t really the point.

  2. Michael Willems Says:

    Entirely possible.

    And Wave serves one other purpose: with Wave, Google knows and controls even more about, and of, what I do… intentional or not, this is a worry.

  3. Michael Willems Says:

    (In part becuase when I say “Google knows” I also mean “the authorities know”.)

    • BKKPhotographer Says:

      “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

      It is hard to believe he said that. Perhaps it was one of those “Freudian slips” where he said the truth rather than the words the PR person had given him to say in the interview.

      I think Google has got itself into the position Microsoft was in a few years ago – universally mistrusted. It’s hard to imagine that people now trust Mictosoft’s privacy policies more than Google’s. This is a great opprtunity for MS if they have the imagination to embrace it. “Trust” is up for grabs as Google just lost it with a short sentence from Eric Schmidt.

      I think the only reaction from Google that could work is that its Board fire Schmidt.

  4. Michael Willems Says:

    I agree – but that will probably not happen, will it.

    Google has almost absolute power, and with that comes extra responsibility to assure us all that it will not be abused. His comments seem to do exactly the opposite, but even in their absence, I see a lack of reassurance.

    • BKKPhotographer Says:

      I have not seen any “clarifications” from Google PR about his statement. But I am sure they exist.

      We users do have absolute freedom to use other services but we also have the responsibility to understand what is happening. The between-the-lines point of my post was that although I haven’t paid Google anything in cash they probably still see me as valuable.

      I have a rule that I don’t put anything in the cloud that I would be upset to have publicly known. People would be so bored with my Google Docs account – it’s full of blog post backups and info about vehicle fleets.

      I never post photos of myself on the Blog or picture sharing sites and say very little about my personal life. I want to be like George Smiley.

      Likewise I don’t put anything in email I wouldn’t write on a postcard.

      It’s boring but I sleep well at night.

  5. Storing Data in the Cloud Has Drawbacks « Bkkphotographer's Blog Says:

    […] – especially “free” ones. See for example the posts on Google Public DNS and Google Wave. In the latter I list (most of) the Google services I […]

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