Google Wave can improve communications, reduce e-mail clutter

Google Wave can improve communications, reduce e-mail clutter

Summary: I think I've been on communications overload for some time now but just didn't realize how severe my suffering was until my Google Wave invitation arrived this weekI must admit that I initially thought of Wave as yet another communications service that requires my daily attention - joining the likes of my corporate e-mail inbox, my personal Gmail inbox, my Facebook inbox (and IM chats), Twitter DMs, IM chats, Google Voice voicemails, work voicemails and finally cell phone voicemails.

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I think I've been on communications overload for some time now but just didn't realize how severe my suffering was until my Google Wave invitation arrived this week

I must admit that I initially thought of Wave as yet another communications service that requires my daily attention - joining the likes of my corporate e-mail inbox, my personal Gmail inbox, my Facebook inbox (and IM chats), Twitter DMs, IM chats, Google Voice voicemails, work voicemails and finally cell phone voicemails.

And people say I'm a hard guy to track down. Ha!

It didn't take long for me to recognize the value in Wave, though. Consider a common scenario that occurred this morning: A colleague sent an e-mail to a group of us to discuss plans for some similar posts that are in the works. I replied. So did the others. But some of our replies overlapped, so we replied again - and again. As of now, I have about a dozen e-mails in my inbox with the same subject line. I could delete the ones that I've already read but I may need to reference them later - so I won't delete them. Eventually, of course, they'll get pushed further and further down in the inbox and, once they're out of sight, they'll never get deleted. They'll just live in the inbox forever and ever.

Earlier this week, I started thinking more about the ineffectiveness of my own e-mail inbox after reading a Wall Street Journal piece titled, "Why Email No Longer Rules..." Admittedly, the past couple of weeks have been pretty slammed for me - some travel, a couple of trade shows, earnings calls and even a Windows 7 party - and that means my e-mail inbox is backed-up. Sure, I can sit down and devote an afternoon to catching up on e-mail - but you never really catch up, do you? As soon as you answer one e-mail, several more land in the inbox.

And so, I've started thinking about doing what many people have already done in their effort to ease the pressure (and guilt) of a clogged inbox. They declare e-mail bankruptcy - delete every message and start from scratch. (If you sent me an e-mail in the past several weeks ago and are still waiting for a reply, please don't take it personal when I say that your correspondence likely landed in the Trash folder.)

E-mail - at least my inbox - has become clogged with useless drivel: unsolicited press releases, newsletters, pitches from PR types who have no clue about what I write about and so on. Every morning and afternoon, I try to take a few minutes just clearing my inbox of stuff that doesn't matter - but I never get ahead.

In a nutshell, I don't see Google Wave as a replacement for e-mail. Used the right way, though, Google Wave not only can relieve some pressure from the overloaded inbox but can also route important messages - stuff that needs my attention and can't afford to get lost in the e-mail noise - to a place that's harder to overlook.

Also see: Meet Google Wave: a new way to communicate and collaborate

Right now, it's hard to see that day - mostly because Google Wave is still new and many people still don't have it. Remember when people used to ask you if you had e-mail? Now, it's just assumed, right?

Eventually, the same might be said for Google Wave - especially for companies that are already using Google Apps.

To learn more about Google Wave, check out the introductory video below. Other Google Wave instructional videos can be found on the GoogleVideos YouTube channel.

Topics: Collaboration, Google

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17 comments
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  • How do I unsubscribe from ZDnet?

    HELP!!!!! I can't unsubscribe from this annoying newsletter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    calmarimaker
    • Re: How do I unsubscribe from ZDnet?

      You've tried the link at the bottom of the Zdnet
      email that reads "Unsubscribe from this e-mail" ?
      cameigons
  • Google wave

    Another way for Google to accumulate your personal information. Is there anything about you that Google does not know? Do you care? Should you care?
    jorjitop
    • The same could be said for Microsoft...

      nt.

      Edit:

      OR Facebook, Myspace, Flicker, Yahoo, take your pick....
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
  • I hope you're right

    I just signed up in Google Wave's page to be getting a
    google wave invitation.

    You know, I've watched the developers preview
    presentation of Google Wave months ago, but wasn't too
    impressed. I didn't even take interest in testing it..
    Now I think it's time for me to rectify that.. :)

    On a broader note, I think I'm just sick of this
    overflow of information(along with this excess of
    virtual socializing or "socializing") in which we dwell
    nowadays. I'm a software developer, but now I feel like
    I should have become a farmer or something. I miss the
    olds days.
    cameigons
  • Was there supposed to be some statements supporting your thread title?

    Not only am I none the wiser as to what Wave is, but there was nothing remotely about how it might improve email management!
    Patanjali
  • Google wave is chaos

    I don't really see the innovation in Google Wave.

    It's like a google docs that actually works with multiple concurent modifications. So sorry if I sound uninpressed, but i'll keep my emails.

    They should however make a new mail transfer protocol to fix the inherent flaw of SMTP.
    Ceridan
  • It's just a chat room

    Everybody is making a big deal about Google Wave, but it's really just a cluttered chat room... yeah big innovation Google!

    They are just copying Microsoft, who invented the chat room in 1996, so that they can steal more of your private information out from under your nose to add to their data farm.
    Lovesock Robinson
    • MS invented the chatroom???

      Was that before or after they invented the Internet, the personal computer and email? Massive amounts of sarcasm there. A little history for the uninformed. Before Microsoft was even a company there were Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) and after that came Internet Relay Chat (IRC). MS did not invent these things. MS doesn't invent much, MS Bob is about the only thing they invented...
      b12sklfck
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  • Sam Diaz inbox

    Am I missing something here regarding emails in the inbox?

    Do not most folk create folders and move the emails to the relevant folder, then delete the folder plus emails when they become redundant?

    Why should the inbox get that full up? Just like someone never filing their in tray...Hmmm....
    lee.enfield
  • My inbox

    My yahoo email main page has a separate section
    for emails from people in my contact list. I
    thought it was silly when it appeared one day,
    but now I glance there first. It doesn't affect
    the problem of multiple replies, of course...
    just makes it easier to wade through the junk.
    MaryTN
  • RE: Google Wave can improve communications, reduce e-mail clutter

    I am sure Google Wave is impressive and maybe even "cutting edge", but I resent the implication that I am the victim of "communication overload." Personally, I do not watch TV, do not own a cell phone, not registered with Facebook, MySpace or Twitter, and I have only one e-mail address that is web based and I get along just fine.

    The point is: the solution is not more over-the-top bloated communications solution's but to strip away what you don't need and take control of your life. By doing so, I force others to meet me on my conditions.

    This is just another attempt by Google to put a ring in your nose and force feed you advertisements from their highest paying customers.

    (disclaimer: love the GMail... big fan.)
    hmcclain4
  • RE: Google Wave can improve communications, reduce e-mail clutter

    Methinks the lady doth resent too much. You are a data-set of 1 (one) and you're lecturing billions? What a total waste of the usefulness of resentment. What other conspiracies are you down with? Glen Beck fan?
    Iztaci
  • RE: Google Wave can improve communications, reduce e-mail clutter

    Google Wave is interesting, but your communications are still not protected by encryption. If you are not concerned about how your communcations, threads, waves or whatever you want to call them are stored while "at rest" on Google's servers, then perhaps Wave is the way to go. However, there is a new web application emerging at www.threadthat.com that follows many of the same principals of a Wave, yet every piece of text you type and every file you upload is AES encrypted. I can tell you this with certainty because I am the chief architect. This web application is not on anyone's radar yet. The official launch date is November 1st.
    mr_S54
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