Notes on Media

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Just another weblog. Lasse Bo Timmermann.

with:public – Google Wave as the New Live?

From static websites, to personal blogs, to status updates on Facebook or Twitter. Reading and working on the Web seems to speed up. Earlier this week I had the chance to have a first look on Google Wave. Without many people using it I can not really say much about its use in everyday life. However, typing ‘with:public’ into the search box reveals some of what wave is able to do. One immediately sees a rush of communication; numerous waves floating across the screen, much faster then they can be read. A stream similar to what one can receive through Twitter, but everything is ‘real-time’. It is not a flow of static messages but the text is still being typed while it flows by. I think it is yet impossible to predict where it will eventually go and what the main purposes of Google Wave will eventually be, but reading Nicholas Carr’s article Is Google Making us Stupid there is an interesting aspect to it with respect to its live character . In the article he is more generally dealing with ideas of how the Internet changes our way of thinking and how it becomes increasingly difficult to stay focused. At one point he argues that,

“[t]he last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading or slow, concentrated thought. It’s in their economic interest to drive us to distraction.”

Could Google Wave thus be perceived as the next step in this process? Yes and No. Paradoxically many people perceive it as a tool of faster, easier and more convenient form of communication, especially if it comes to collaborative work and organization of things. The answer would thus be ‘No’ as forms of communication, hitherto provisionally realized through e-mail, really seem to be able to find a better platform. Also the live aspect of Google Wave certainly has an appealing aspect. But, the distraction seems to sneak in through the backdoor. If everything (in terms of communcation) is always live and thus changeable, replayable and commentable the static seems to fade a bit more. An aspect of also mentioned with respect to Twitter by Jeff Jarvis in his post on The temporary Web in which he states that,

“Twitter is temporary. Streams are fleeting. If the future of the web after the page and the site and SEO is streams – and I believe at least part of it will be – then we risk losing information, ideas, and the permanent points – the permalinks – around which we used to coalesce.”

I do not necessarily share the rather dark prophecy, Carr’s seems to put forward, in all its aspects. The different temporality, however, seems to pose questions for the consistency of out living environment. There certainly is a paradoxically situation in which we keep ever more information about ourselves e.g. in our mailboxes, while on the other hand the streams of data become increasingly temporary.

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Filed under: Google, Internet

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