Is Google Wave back from the dead?

Google Wave was the most hyped launch of 2009. After it’s initial failure to capture the attention of the masses, can Apache bring it back to life?

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Google Wave was the most hyped launch of 2009, it promised a new way of communication that was set to eliminate email forever.

The project received rave reviews from early testers and tech heads alike. However, perhaps Wave’s biggest problem was that it was a little ahead of time and too advanced for the ‘every day user’.

Unfortunately, Google Wave failed spectacularly, its user base soon diminished, and it wasn’t long before Google pulled the plug on the project.

In early April 2010, Google announced on its blog;

Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects.”

Google open-sourced the code and released Google Wave as ‘Wave in a Box’ – allowing developers to build on Wave or use the open source code to repurpose its technology for new applications.

The end. Or so we thought.

Mashable reported today that “Google Wave has resurfaced in a new proposal to the Apache Software Foundation. Best known for the Apache server, the ASF is host to over 100 open source projects. Several people from Google, Novell, SAP and even the U.S. Navy hope to add “Apache Wave” to that list”

Taken for the Apache Wave Proposal, the proposal’s three goals are as documented as follows;

  • To migrate the codebase from code.google.com and integrate the project with the ASF infrastructure (issue management, build, project site, etc)
  • To quickly reach a state where it is possible to continue the development of the Wave In a Box implementation under the ASF project
  • To add new committers to the project and grow the community in “The Apache Way”.

Don’t get too excited just yet though, the project is still in the proposal stage and is yet to be accepted by the ASF.

With enough big committers and a well developed codebase, there might just be hope for Google Wave to live again, albeit as Apache Wave.

4 thoughts on “Is Google Wave back from the dead?

  1. Thanks for your feedback Brett.

    We agree that consolidation is a good thing but can’t help but feel that Google Wave was an attempt to solve a problem that didn’t really exist and it had quite a steep learning curve in terms of trying to use it.

    We use Google Apps and are big fans. Very easy to keep everything together and you could use Rockmelt (see Rockmelt posts) to add in a dose of Facebook etc.?

  2. Google seemed to have hopes of having wave become the defacto replacement for email and chat and was probably expecting a huge number of people as a result. While clearly this did not happen, what they ended up with was an incredible and indispensable collaboration tool. Since we started using google wave on projects, internally and with our clients, we have been hooked and will continue to use wave any way that we can. While I would not use wave to send a message to a friend, I DO use wave on projects where you formally tell all team members to use wave as the location for discussions and placement of project information.

    If you look at their website if now says “New! Google Apps domains can turn on Google Wave.” How “New” is this ? If this came after the announcement to kill wave, could this mean that google is having a change of heart and possibly integrating wave into Google Apps ? If so it would really make sense as wave is the “Killer App” for organizational communications. Problem though is wave only survives in the google apps realm, then it eliminates the ability to add ANYONE to a wave which is what make wave so handy.

  3. I think that google is missing an opportunity (or perhaps preparing for one). What I mean is that they should seamlessly integrate wave into their gmail and google apps email offerings, so that users who are mutually on those services can automatically begin to treat any [supposed] ordinary email as though it were already a wave. I think that piloting a service like this would indeed garner the level of user adoption that wave has previously lacked.

    I for one still tenaciously, and perhaps in denial of reality, continue to use wave as a means of keeping track of ideas (as a sort of private diary), even in the absence of anyone to share those ideas with. I sincerely hope that google will wise up and not waste the opportunity make this technology the viable alternative to traditional email that it legitimately is.

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