wavelogo_thumb[1]Google Wave, one of Google’s more infamous red-headed stepchildren, has found a home in the Apache Software Foundation’s incubator program. Originally touted as a fantastic new way of revolutionizing the collaborative process, the cross between e-mail, instant messaging, and an outlining tool faltered after its initial start when only a minority of the people who tried it could actually figure out any useful purpose of it.

Along the way, Wave imperiled a collaboration tool that I and a number of others found considerably more useful, as Google bought up the company that created the EtherPad collaborative web text editor (so that its coders could be folded into the Wave team). Happily, this proved to be a blessing in disguise as Google allowed EtherPad to be open-sourced, so that even though EtherPad itself is gone, there are now at least dozens of public and private sites running their own EtherPad servers.

Subsequently, Google decided to end-of-line Wave as it turned out to be considerably less popular and widely-adopted than the company had hoped. But now history is repeating itself, as Wave itself will be open-sourced under the aegis of Apache. (I wonder what became of the EtherPad coders, and how they feel to keep having their projects open-sourced out from under them?)

I was able to make some use of Wave for a couple of TeleRead interviews, but it never really made itself indispensible to me. The interface was just too clunky, and it was a tool for no real overall purpose I could ever figure out. Still, it represented a lot of time and effort on the part of Google coders who worked on it, and there are a number of people who do find Wave extremely useful.


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