Google Wave Potential Boon for eDiscovery

There’s been much hype and criticism of Google’s new…um…tool, Google Wave. As just about anyone who received an invite will tell you, the “tool” is hard to describe. Part of that, I think, stems from the limited number of invites, not to mention the lag from sending/requesting invite to actual receipt of invite. Wave is not that useful if you are the only one you know with an invite. To get any use out of it, right now, you need to know at least 3 other people, and then have some specific goal in mind, say writing an article or creating a user manual. Otherwise, it’s just a big idea board filled with randomness.

The list of annoyances, big and small, seems to grow every day. Having to actually click “Done” instead of hitting “Return” or “Enter” when I am done typing strikes me as a step backwards. And apparently there is no shortcut key for creating a new Wave either. There are no shortcut keys at all, it seems.

A nifty feature, though, got me thinking.

The feature is called Playback, and what it does is, quite literally, play back every single key stroke made in a given Wave. Letters, spacing, typos, deleting of typos or complete sentences, insertion/deletion of links, images, pictures…basically, if this were composed in Wave, you would be able to see every key stroke I have made and every mistake I have removed.

So what, right? Ah, but if you work in eDiscovery, it has the potential to save quite a bit of time. You don’t necessarily have to sift through mounds of data or see what may have been overwritten. That is all made apparent with the Playback feature. In theory, one can deduce intent behind deletion and/or additions to a Wave. And if one were to type something inappropriate or inadvertently disclose information, the act is recorded, and can be watched, just like rewinding a movie and watching that good part again and again.

This of course is all speculative. But until now, there has not been a “playback” feature for the Web. It’s all pieces, bits, that get broken up and then put back together, sometimes in very time-consuming, painstaking fashion.

If Wave is to catch on, and it being a Google product, how can it not, it may prove to be a boon for the eDiscovery industry, and perhaps the general legal industry as a whole.

Just some food for thought…


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