Google got most of the attention this week for its recently unveiled Chrome OS so the Wave team figured it was time for a little update as well. They're not actually announcing anything but they are revealing the results of a survey they've carried out to find out what people liked or disliked about Google Wave. And with most of the tech world unimpressed with Google's efforts, it would be interesting to know what the actual users think.
“Since we can't talk to all of our users individually (no matter how hard we try!), we've been running an online survey to get some feedback on the Google Wave experience. We distributed the survey through email (to a random sample of those that volunteered to help), a link in our help center and a tweet. While this may not be a completely representative sample of all Google Wave users, the results have been interesting to us, and we'd like to share them,” Aaron Cheang, User Experience researcher for Google Wave, wrote
The results aren't as useful as they could have been, but there are a couple of interesting nuggets in there. When asked what they liked the most about Google Wave, the majority of users said they liked the idea of the wave as the center of all their communications. The interesting thing is that they didn't say they liked they way Google had implemented it but rather the concept itself. This is very telling of the state of the project so far – it has a lot of potential, but it's mostly unfulfilled at the moment.
Other things people liked are the collaboration options, being able to communicate but also share and work together on documents. This, of course, is the biggest promise of the service and likely where it will be popular at first, if Google can deliver a compelling product. Finally, users liked the idea of 'extensions', the various apps which can add a lot of functionality to the Wave.
The biggest problem with Google Wave at the moment, according to its users, is its limited roll-out which means that most can't connect with many of their friends or colleagues. The second issue isn't something that Wave does but rather something it doesn't, its integration with other services, email was on top of the list, leaves to be desired. Finally, users complained about the service's slowness which, knowing Google, is a big issue at the moment. The interesting thing is that most of the things people liked or didn't like don't really have to do with the service itself. The speed issue is obviously the exception, but the general feel is that people get that Wave could turn into something big, yet at the moment, they're not quite sure what to make of it.