Google Wave on the iPhone

As is all over the blogosphere, 100000 google wave sandbox accounts were sent out this morning.  And we got one!  You can read lots here, here and here.  I particularly liked this review of the technology behind the implementation and loved the bit about how Chrome Frame came about as a direct result of the the wave team’s inability to put wave in IE (don’t even get me stated on the JS engine in IE).  But after only a couple of minutes playing with the spiffy interface in chrome I thought.  Hmmm, I wonder how this will look on my iPhone?  

So much like if you are on IE, when you first approach wave on the iPhone, you’re told that you’re using an unsupported browser (even though ostensibly it is Safari).


Being the masochistic sort that I am, I clicked the “go ahead” link, and to my surprise and computer geekery delight, it worked!

The first thing I noticed was the smooth rendering of the wave interface in classic google iPhone-y-ness.  This feels just like mail or reader on the iPhone.  The intuitive interface shows the “inbox” first


and allows you to drill through to individual waves.


You can get to your contacts via the button in the top right.  It works smoothly and seamlessly.  Now I want to point out a couple of things.  First, this isn’t even supposed to work as this is an unsupported browser.  To understand how amazing that is, try opening the MSDN in FireFox (a production site in an unsupported browser).  Second, remember that Safari on the iPhone has no flash.  Many a dynamic site is foiled on the iPhone because all the shiny new features are done in flash.  Not so here, everything works exactly as it should.  Good grief, if only I could produce an alpha of this quality.  And third, “alpha” is not a typo.  I understand that this broadening of the tester base is in some ways considered a beta (well, maybe not in google terms…gmail anyone), but the iPhone version of this product is still very much in alpha.  Look no further than the logos.  From the site in Chrome:


From the site on the iPhone:


If I do have one criticism, the fantastic “characters transmit as you type” feature of wave doesn’t seem to work with the iPhone.  My edit didn’t show up in the Chrome client until after I clicked done.  Not a major thing, and likely a factor of the keyboard interface on the iPhone, but something nonetheless.

Kudos to the Google Wave team on getting something right that isn’t even supposed to work.


Jon Holt

A coach, an entrepreneur, and a no-bull advisor in growing small businesses through the use of practical strategy, light-weight governance and sitting back and thinking about running your business, regardless of what you do.

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