Tag Archives: Google Talk

Google Buzz: Takes on Twitter as a ‘Wave’ with Training Wheels

A few months ago, I documented my first trip to ride Google’s new Wave.  In full disclosure, since that time, I’ve been back only a handful of times.  Through exchanges with students, friends, and co-workers, I’ve found this to be the case for a majority of “Wave” users… or potential Wave users.  My own hypothesis: Google attempted to re-invent the wheel.  A wheel that they already possessed and improved.  A clear example is listed just below:

To the left is a “Google Wave” contact list.  When I first joined, there were only a few people who were on my contact list.  Though I frequently chatted with friends using GMail‘s “Gtalk” (commonly referred to as “gchat” by many)  feature already, I (and the rest of my friends) joined Google Wave hoping to find something different.

What we found though, was not only something that we had used seamlessly in our day-to-day electronically mediated interactivity, but also something that didn’t include everyone we were used to interacting with.  It was a cheap imitation and lacked the social component that drives electronically mediated interactivity in today’s culture and society.

To the right is a screen shot of my own gtalk contact list located within my Gmail window.  Immediately, the anatomy gtalk’s contact list reveals more people, a video chat option, and (most important of all) more users!  The third of these three characteristics was the most damning of Google’s Wave from the start.  Google, hoping to spark electronic phylogenic progress with Google Wave, remained stagnant if not receding due to the lack of users.

Judging by Google’s introduction of “Google Buzz” as an application on it’s gtalk, the company realized this was a major flaw in the makeup of Wave.  The nonverbal omission of failure resulted in yesterday’s worldwide introduction of Buzz and  today’s worldwide unveiling on many Gmail/gtalk users’ windows.

Instantly, users liken Google Buzz to Twitter.  It’s hard not to.  From the ability to “link” (or sync) to your Twitter account to the terms “follow” and “follower,” Buzz reeks of Twitter.  Below is a visual example of this:

Just above was my last “tweet” before going to bed…

Today, when I activated my “Buzz,” this was the result of “linking” (or “syncing”) my “tweets” into Google Buzz.

Google Buzz’s central separation from Twitter is something that my Communication and Media Studies recitation group and I discussed yesterday during class.  The lack of opportunities for “public feedback” on Twitter requires users to take extra steps to “see” what other people are commenting about any given “tweet.”  An example of this is displayed just below:

Paul Levinson‘s initial tweet about last night’s Lost episode appeared on my Twitter feed without any alert as to other people who’ve commented or responded to his initial commentary.The very same tweet (“linked” or “synced” from Paul’s Twitter account right into Google Buzz) makes public commentary or feedback a possibility.  Further, private feedback via chat (both textual and video) is also an option for users.

If Google Buzz can wrangle users in a way that the company was unable to do with Wave, this addition to GMail will be a wild success.  The pressure and attention now moves to Twitter.  The social networking, micro-blogging site must now take steps to making public feedback more visible to users.  Failure to do so, may result in a decrease in activity and more web hours being spend micro-blogging on Google Buzz.


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Filed under Internet eVolution, New New Media, Social Networking

Google Wave Foray: 1st Edition

We learn best by practicing, working, or doing the activity that we study. (Levinson, New New Media)

The above quote came within the first nine pages of Paul Levinson‘s New New Media (Penguin, 2009) as the author qualifies his methodology citing American Philosopher, John Dewey‘s maxim for learning.  Within the early pages of New New Media, Levinson submits the the hallmark of New New Media as the opportunity for “anyone [to] join, play, or work on them” (Levinson, 10).  Last night, I had an opportunity to explore exactly what Levinson posits in the early chapters of his latest book, as my application for Google‘s new Google Wave was approved.

To begin, Doctor Wave (who reveals his true name to be “Greg” in the introduction video) provides a brief introduction to the Wave.  Though, there are admittedly a plethora of reasons why the length of the intro is so brief, I submit that Google doesn’t want the user to feel pressured into operating the Wave the “standard” way.  In fact, my early foray into the Wave has provided anything but a standard operating procedure.

Above, rests my first day of work.  As you can see it’s fairly plain, listing a standard (there’s that word again) navigation bar, contacts list, and inbox.  However, one less-than-standard characteristic of the Wave.. are the “waves” themselves:

Within the picture, a conversation/discussion/meeting/whatever-one-uses-it-for is taking place between myself and two friends from college.  Within the snapshot, the viewer notices the application of “gadgets” into the Wave.  Gadgets, or (web) widgets and apps (application software), provide the same user-generated content carrying Facebook toward virtual “Uno,” “Farmville,” “Mob Wars,” and “Friend Finder.”  At times annoying (see any Facebook “News Feed” regarding “cow” purchases on Farmville or a “hit” on Mob Wars), the manifestation of these gadgets appears to take root in group collaboration/communication.

Currently, as my conversation with a former co-worker relays, collaborations or group work (in the broadest of definitions) are based from a purely textual perspective.  Eventually, the Wave will come incorporate the same video technology (see: Skype, ooVoo, etc.) currently housed on Gmail‘s Google Talk (also known as “gchat”).  In fact, multiple video chats operating concurrently lends itself to the anthropotropic characteristics evident in even the earliest stages of Google’s Wave.

Finally, as I wrapped on this post, a close friend “pinged” me:

Putting our heads together, we instantaneously identified “pinging” as Instant Messaging.  Further, one of Wave’s most unique characteristics became evident: keystroke to screen communication.  Without hitting “Enter,” Regina was able to see every letter I pounded into the “ping” box.

Meaning every time I misspelled a word, relayed misinformation, or wrote something I didn’t want her to read… she had the ability to catch my misspelling, mistakes, or rude demeanor.  This addition to the Instant Messaging universe as it’s known delivers a number of immediate changes to the code of conduct or ethical guidelines by which users abided (and still do, for the most part) since IMing’s conception (dating back to Windows Messanger, ICQ, and AOL Instant Messanger).

The initial shock of key-stroke submission soon wore, as Regina suggested that her “Social Media” plate was quickly filling (and just in time for finals!).  Though, it’s far from coming to fruition, my media convergence supposition is idealistic (at best) for the time being.  While Wave’s mobile desktop potential is evident, it’s hardly available at the time being.

At the end of our discussion, I experienced another novel component of Wave’s “Ping:” editing.  Again, ethically speaking, this may have been rude.  But justifying my actions with John Dewey’s educational maxim, I corrected Regina’s grammatical mistake.  Though my snapshot doesn’t show it, I promise she didn’t mind.

At the end of my session, I have nothing but positive feedback to provide Google.  The universe of possibilities for Wave are limitless at the conclusion of Day 1.  The most interesting elements to note are the potential for mass-editing (as discussed with Tom regarding video and audio productions) and the potential for Wave as mobile desktop (as detailed just above with Regina).  In the end, the most interesting characteristic of my initial foray into Google’s Wave is that I was able to collaborate and sculpt ideas with my friends, co-workers, and peers with relative immediacy and ease.


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