Google appears to be abandoning development on Google Wave. The collaboration project many derided as a solution in search of a problem apparently never found the userbase Google had hoped for, perhaps because its user interface never managed to approach the user-friendliness of other Google projects such as Gmail or Google Reader. Writes Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Operations & Google Fellow, on the Google 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. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.

I did manage to use it for a couple of TeleRead interviews, and for a story outlining project, but it’s just not the sort of thing that lends itself to obvious uses—unlike Etherpad, the collaborative text editor produced by a company that Google absorbed last year, ostensibly to add its developers to the Google Wave development team. I wonder if the Etherpad dev team will return to working on their previous project, now open-sourced with numerous mirrors.

Hmm, that’s kind of ironic when you think about it. In purchasing and killing the company that made it, open-sourcing it as a byproduct, Google may have given Etherpad the very widespread adoption that it hoped for but never managed to achieve in Wave.

(Found via Gizmodo.)


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