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Didn’t Get Adobe Wave

Posted by Sravan | July 23, 2009 .

Joerg Beckert let us know that a public beta version of Adobe Wave is now available on Adobe Labs. I tried it and didn’t get the point. The FAQ on the home page says:

Adobe Wave is an Adobe AIR application that lets you get notifications from the websites you care about. It displays a desktop alert when there is new content, a new social interaction, or another notification that the website would like to let you know about.

Sounds like a “feed” to me, except they insist calling it simply an alert or a notification. I checked the Google Reader FAQ and it says:

Many websites publish lists of updates—called “feeds”—that indicate when they’ve posted new content. When you subscribe to a feed, Google Reader monitors that feed and keeps track of all updates. You don’t have to give any personal information, it doesn’t cost a dime, and it’s easy to unsubscribe.

Anyway, to use Adobe Wave I need an account which I log into and subscribe to various websites to get the updates. Wait, I do exactly that with Google Reader (or any feed reader) too. Well, Google Reader doesn’t bring these updates to my desktop, though AIR feed readers like Snackr and ReadAIR do.

In fact, Adobe Wave calls these alerts “feeds” at least in the $APPDATA\AdobeWave\Loca Store\$ACCOUNTID\localSettings.dat file.

Adobe Wave

The one thing that Adobe Wave does extra is update users even when they receive messages on MySpace or another social network. But again Adobe AIR apps like Nomee and Skimmer are already doing that. It is possible that Adobe Wave does it better, but the other AIR apps use already existing technologies and do not need the website users themselves to use a new technology.

So either I didn’t get the minimalistic AIR app developed by Adobe, or there isn’t a lot going there. Which is it?

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3 Comments so far
  1. Joerg Beckert  July 23, 2009 9:27 am

    Hi Sravan,

    thanks for checking out Adobe Wave. Your questions are all great and legitimate. There is a lot of experimentation in the space of communication and collaboration systems going on at the moment. Browser or application-based, desktop or mobile, RSS or twitter-based and then there is Google Wave crossing email, IM and other interesting technologies.

    In my opinion, small variations of existing artifacts that have to prove themselves against others is a great sign of evolution. I like the fact that people are enthusiastic about this space and willing to try different approaches for how they get alerted, how they choose what’s important to them and how they organize this information. I’m certainly not satisfied with the status of the tools today, including Adobe Wave. So we try to improve them. We have chosen to start out simple, listen and experiment.

    You mentioned that tool A can do that and tool B can do this. It shows that I need two tools to do similar things. Other users, especially those who don’t have a strong tech background are much happier when they get less, so it is important to leave things out deliberately. We are still looking for the right balance and it will be a different balance for different users.
    As what Adobe Wave is concerned we think that it is an offer to an end-user base who simply want to stay connected to a web site, not only the big social networking sites, and want to get alerted when important things happen there. The notification app should not get in the way of this flow. So far email was used a lot for these kinds of notifications, but many people don’t like to clean up emails or mix notifications that need to be timely but are not worth keeping around with content that they need to archive.
    Those end users share a goal with the publishers who want to stay closely connected to their audience, they experiment with twitter, have RSS feeds and do a lot of things to keep the dialog fluent. Following a site on twitter, on Facebook or via an RSS reader is still a small niche when you look at the combined internet audience. I think one of the reason is that the tools that enable real-time communication are too much in the way of the flow. It should be about the publisher and the audience, about the conversation and less about the technology underneath.

    I’d like to hear your (and everyone else’s) thoughts about what your ideal mechanism would look like to:
    * keep the conversation flowing, without any friction,
    * be able to filter and prioritize the many conversations an end-user and a publisher is engaged in
    * pause and resume the conversation
    * merge and split conversations (what about good “old” forums ?)
    * carry the conversation with you wherever you go or leave it behind and pick it up later
    * discover and share new conversations
    * visually identify a conversation that you follow or would like to follow (or the ones you have abandoned)

    All this without being distracted by the enabling technology… and think about the audience without a technical background. How would their opinions regarding the questions above differ from yours?

    Best regards

    Joerg Beckert

  2. Nassif  July 24, 2009 1:05 am

    I think that major difference between Adobe Wave and other RIA clients that consumes feeds, is that Adobe Wave make use of a push technologie, that is, when the information is available, it is pushed directly to the client,in the other hand, other clients are just pulling from time to time, to see if there’s something newer.

  3. Sravan  July 24, 2009 9:31 pm

    Hi Joerg,

    Thank you for the explanation. I agree with you about the signs of evolution in this space of communication and collaboration systems. And it is great to see Adobe take a decisive step in this direction.

    Regarding the tool A and tool B, what I meant was that each of those can independently do what Adobe Wave currently does. Do check out Nomee once. Or, as I said, I haven’t got a good feel of the capabilities of Adobe Wave yet. (I think the Adobe Wave example should have a wider range of examples to display that it really is a new technology, not just a new app that does things that are already possible.)

    Coming to your list of questions, I will have to think deeper about those. I will get back to you. :-)

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