Google Wave crashes on beach of overhype

I just got my Google Wave invite. No, I’m already out, so I can’t send one to you, sorry.

But this service is way overhyped and as people start to use it they will realize it brings the worst of email and IM together: unproductivity.

See, the first thing you notice is that you can see people chatting live in Google Wave.

That’s really cool if you are working on something together, like a spreadsheet or a Word document.

But it’s a productivity sink if you are trying to just communicate with other people.

It also ignores the productivity gains that we’ve gotten from RSS feeds, Twitter, and FriendFeed.

What do I mean by that?

It is noisy, but the noise often happens way down in a wave deep in your inbox.

This is far far worse than email. (New email always shows up at the top of my inbox, where Google Wave can bring me new stuff deep down at the bottom of my inbox).

It’s far far worse than Twitter (where new stuff ALWAYS shows up at top). It’s even far worse than FriendFeed, which my friends always said was too noisy. At least there when you write a comment on an item it pops to the top of the page.

And, worse, when I look at my Google Wave page I see dozens of people all typing to me in real time. I don’t know where to look and keeping up with this real time noise is less like email, which is like tennis (hit one ball at a time) and more like dodging a machine gun of tennis balls. Much more mentally challenging.

See, Google Wave was oversold as something you’d use with the public, or at least with large groups of friends, like you use Twitter, email, or Facebook.

No. Using it that way is an attention dump and will kill your productivity. Google Wave is actually closer to IM. Great with your very close friends or very active coworkers but horrid for nearly everyone else.

Google’s Wave will crash hard onto the beach of overhype.

My advice?

DO NOT ADD EVERYONE. Get a close personal friend, or a coworker to play with this and don’t publicize that you’re using it until you are sure you can deal with the productivity hit you’ll take here.

DO NOT ASSUME THIS IS A TWITTER KILLER. It is not. It’s not even a good sharing engine, far worse than FriendFeed is. I’d recommend using a private room over on FriendFeed first.

DO TRY THE API if you are a developer. From what I’m seeing that’s where the real value in Google Wave will come, but we haven’t seen enough apps yet so end users won’t find much here to play with yet.

To see some screen shots and how noisy this can get, go over and check out Louis Gray’s post about it.

Just get ready for the crash of overhype, this one didn’t deserve this much hype for what it delivered.