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And So Google Finally Announces the Formal Death of Google Wave in 2012...

And so at last comes the end of one of Google's most intriguing and useful collaboration platforms... Google Wave. Amidst the long list of services Google is killing off as part of its latest round of "spring cleaning" was this note about Wave:

  • Google Wave We announced that we’d stopped development on Google Wave over a year ago. But as of January 31, 2012, Wave will become read-only and you won’t be able to create new ones. On April 30 we will turn it off completely. You’ll be able to continue exporting individual waves using the existing PDF export feature until the Google Wave service is turned off. If you’d like to continue using this technology, there are a number of open-source projects, including Apache Wave and Walkaround.

I admit that from the start I was a big fan of Google Wave. I wrote about Wave a good bit here on this site and used it both personally and professionally. Wave's ability to allow real-time collaboration was really quite incredible, as I documented in this video about collaborative note-taking at a conference. In fact, I still use it weekly as Shel and Neville use Wave to plan the outlines for each For Immediate Release podcast - as a weekly correspondent I use the wave to see what else they are going to talk about to avoid overlapping or to build on what is being discussed elsewhere. They also get to see what I am going to be talking about in advance of me submitting my recording. It also provides an easy way for them to get the links for the show notes.

Plus, as an advocate for an "open Internet" where can control your own data, I loved the promise that the "Wave protocol" would allow for federation between Wave servers... that it would allow for the creation of a distributed and decentralized architecture for collaboration servers.

Sure, Google Wave had a user interface that was very "different" and took some getting used to. It definitely had some clunky aspects to it... and the massive hype around it led to outsized expectations that clearly could never be met.

And now, two years after Wave's launch, some of the features in Wave have migrated into other Google products. Google Docs has a real-time editing capability very similar to what worked so well in Wave. Google+ amusingly has the "play back" capability in its Ripples feature. There may be other features in other services I haven't noticed. It's clear that that work involved with Wave had an impact within Google.

Now it's left to open source projects like Apache Wave and Walkaround to carry on with what Google Wave started. It will be interesting to see what can be done... I'm certainly going to be exploring both projects in the time ahead.

Goodbye, Google Wave, 'twas nice knowing you...

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