Google Wave (not as communication tool) but as a notebook (IDEA 2 of 3 from from Barcamp London 7)

London, Thames River South Bank. While at BarCampLondon7 (took place at the IBM offices over 48 hours) where an extended crowd of neurodiverse brilliance showed up.  Dozens of the conversations I would like to follow up, but alas am only able to publish the top three IMHO of which I hope will give me an opportunity to encourage further (hence being published and citable here).  The three ideas came about via three very smart developers:

IDEA 2: Google Wave as Notebook (not as communication tool, necessarily):

Mr Forrester from the BBC sat in on a talk with me by regarding the pragmatic technologies that are starting to emerge in the PUSH architecture that is fundamentally changing the architectural paradigm of the Web (see IDEA 3).  The post conversation emerged when we started asking ourselves what this means for real people like academics and journalists.

Most people would agree that Google Wave is a lossy technology that we are still trying to understand with regards to “what itch it scratches”.  Well, I think part of the answer that Wave is suggesting is as a notebook for the individual (with the option for human collaboration but by no means necessary, in fact I would argue it is more about machine and single human collaboration than human community collaboration?).

Use Case 1: a journalist begins to monitor a story and quickly jots down the story idea and some other key contacts and ideas that emerge.  In addition the journalist starts a couple of keyword robots to monitor for any news on the topic.  She then leaves the robots to collect some headlines and thoughts for a week.  When she comes back to the story with some additional ideas she also notices that the robots have found five leads that might provide additional information, she also notices a story local story that mirrors her most recent idea, she quickly adds her idea below the story and also notes down some names and contact details below the other leads the crawlers have found her.  Also at this point she begins to put down an outline for the story and highlights some missing gaps.  Upon contacting and interviewing some leads she add her notes.  This continues so and so forth, in the same way that she would populate her notebook with ideas, however Wave give her one significant advantage: that each idea is presented both chronologically and ideologically with each entry in those lists having their own URL.

This same use case can be repeated for the Academic Scientist whose lab notebook needs a way of progressing along as ideas emerge and as robots in the forms of experiments automatically log data against ideas.

Both Journalist and Scientist can then write their story/research article referencing what they found and in what order they found it by linking to the individual posts with in the Wave.  This give the story/research a level of back-end data that has never been availble to their audiences.

What is different here, or rather what problem do these scenarios solve?  Primarily this is a problem about lists and being able to make humans and machines understand a list both chronologically (which machines are good at keeping track of) and ideologically (which humans are good at keeping track of). In the machine world what is missing is the ability to make lists and then edit them according to the way humans think -> ideologically = keeping track of multiple lists occurring at the same time (as opposed to a single list which is what machine’s like).

The framework that is difficult to understand here is that the Web is good at making lists that are chronological in time (e.g. RSS/ATOM), but they have yet to enable the making of lists that can go back and edit the list (inserting a new item) without confusing the human with regards to when the item appeared both ideologically and chronologically in time.  GoogleWave because of “concurrent transaction” aka ‘the fastforward button’ enables the listing of items in chronological and logical order to exist concurrently thereby finding the sweet spot of what machines like (a single list of chronological order) and what human like (multiple lists of ideological order).

So there is my simple explination of what Wave has given us, a single list that can encode both chrnological data and ideological data. Do you see more of an innovation in Wave than this? <– if so, you know where the comment button is.


~ by dfflanders on November 8, 2009.

3 Responses to “Google Wave (not as communication tool) but as a notebook (IDEA 2 of 3 from from Barcamp London 7)”

  1. Thank you! for ur post
    Recently I visit a nice article ablout google wave here:

  2. A science/research notebook, for accountability reasons, typically is bound, pages numbered, etc. Think patent application documentation. Sure, notebook entries can still be fudged, but it is inconvenient, difficult even. Does a Google wave document/conversation equal or exceed this level of accountability?

  3. Thank you for nice post.

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