This post was almost mandatory for me. I am a geek and I somehow feel that my role in this industry is to find new technological ways to improve our Theatre Production process (Just because I say so). So a couple days ago Google released finally a Preview of their new tool called Google Wave. There is an 1hr 20min long video in their website: GoogleWave. But if you don’t have the time to watch that AND read my post just stick to my post ok? They sell it as the new way to do e-mail and I definitely think thats what it is. It is pretty similar to what Gmail started doing by joining e-mails with the same subject into one thread of conversation. And people can join in and out of this thread, but now you can reply to any part of the e-mail, you can edit the content of someone else’s message and you can add people to it without having endless e-mails with copied text all over the place. Another cool feature and vital in this format is that you get live interaction. Meaning that if both users (or as many as there can be in the wave) in one ‘wave’ are online you can see LIVE what each other is doing. To this you can add voice and video interaction so you can collaborate in any document.
On top of all and why this specific tool is popping everyone’s interest is that you can use Google’s API (meaning you can write your own software) to write gadgets to suit your needs. Developers can use this technology to do ANY interactive, live gadget. So right now there are only a few around. For example a Sudoku game, you can put it there and any participant of that wave can start filling in information, you can all see it happening live or if you missed it, you can playback the order of events. Or a poll or decision gadget. Where participants can just click an option and it will update you on who needs to participate, who is missing to vote and make group decisions easily and in one same space rather than scrolling through many e-mails.
So what about theatre? (I’m sure thats the main question in everybody’s mind right now at Google). This means that we could potentially improve the way we communicate and give more sense to e-mail when several people are discussing something. But more than anything, it means that we could write a Gadget, lets say to do a Production Calendar (that could be linked to Google Calendars) and many people have an opinion on it either live or through e-mail but specifically to that part of the calendar, meaning that PM, TD, Director and SM could collaborate in a Calendar without having to send, print and distribute endless versions of it. This also means that you can always refer to that E-mail and have the latest version and commentary on it AND see what the changes are, when they happened and who made them. And the best part is that it all fits in a Browser, so you get rid of compatibility issues, people not being able to open the Excel file, or the PDF file. When people read their e-mails late they will always get caught up and there is no way you can miss anything on any given conversation to one topic. My team and I (Inside of The Box) started already to experiment and hopefully we can bring new tools that uses this technology and save trees, e-mail, but more than anything time and miscommunication.
This is just the beginning and I hope that many theatre and technology geeks like me join in this experiment to change not what we do, but how we do it. The less time we put into doing the machine stuff the more time we will have to focus on the art itself. –Men didn’t do art until they were able to stop worrying about food, and they managed to do that with a technology called agriculture–
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