I recently snagged a Google Wave account and have begun to experiment with it. I haven’t gotten any invites to distribute, so there isn’t really anyone I know on it, which means that I can’t really test it much yet, but I have been able to participate in some of the public waves.
My first impression is that it is clearly still in the preview stage. The interface can be quite slow and there is an annoying lag between taking an action, such as sending a Wave to the trash (I’m not sure that you can actually delete waves in the trash yet) and it actually leaving your inbox and there doesn’t seem to be a means of selecting multiple waves for an action as you would normally be able to to with emails.
Fortunately, today, as reported by Lifehacker, the Wave team added a follow/unfollow button which means that not every public wave looked at will end up in your inbox, making the currently bugging sending of waves to the trash less necessary for now.
That said, I can see potential for Wave’s future. Public waves can often act similar to discussion boards on the web and could potentially open specialized discussions to a broader audience than would be possible at a normal online forum. This comes at the cost of the sense of community that forums often cultivate, but it’s a reasonable tradeoff.
I wouldn’t want to make too many predictions of success or failure at this stage in the game. It’s clear that there are a lot of areas left to patch up what I’m currently using is far from being a finished product. At the same time, it’s unclear exactly how popular Wave will be once it is released as a beta. It’s seems that Google has ambitions of usurping email as the most popular mode of online communication through their federation scheme, but it’s up in the air as to whether Wave will actually take off as a successful online application and means of communication.
If anyone wants to reach me via Google Wave, my address is the same as my Gmail address off to the right, except it ends with @googlewave.com instead of @gmail.com. Please note that Wave is not an email client so despite the deceptively similar address format, all emails will bounce. Also, as noted above, I don’t currently have any invites to dish out, so no invite requests for now.