Just a quick note about Google’s announcement of a new service named “Google Wave,” intended to mash up email, instant messaging, social networks, and real-time collaboration into a single space.

“Here’s how it works: In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. It’s concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content — it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use “playback” to rewind the wave and see how it evolved.”

It’s a big, complex project that is nowhere near being ready for public consumption – it’s got some open source components and Google is hoping that developers will embrace and extend it. Bloggers and news outlets got terribly excited and wrote lots of words about how the world will change. They do that a lot.

I bring it up mostly so you can look at the screen shot that Google used to illustrate the wonderfulness of Google Wave. Make no mistake – I’m perfectly familiar with the idea that complicated programs can look intimidating on first glance but fully justify the effort to learn them. This might be swell.

But when I look at this screen shot and imagine what it would be like to use the program – or perhaps more to the point, to live the life where I’d find that helpful – well, I just feel very old. Because to me, this looks like a complete train wreck. It makes me want to keep my life simple so I never, ever have to use it. Click the picture to see it full-size and tell me if it doesn’t make you feel inadequate . . .


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