August 05, 2010, 4:42 PM — Although Google Wave will go down as one of Google's few high-profile failures, the innovative collaboration tool did attract a small group of dedicated followers who hope it will live on as an open source project.
Few people wanted Google Wave to succeed as much as Gina Trapani, a programmer and tech writer who authored "The Complete Guide to Google Wave," which, she notes good-naturedly, very quickly became little more than a history book or, hopefully, a collector's edition.
Trapani believes Wave was "ahead of its time," and that Google didn't effectively explain the service's true benefits, which is what made the Complete Guide necessary. Wave was "so much better" than the more popular Google Docs, she says.
"I absolutely loved Wave. The reason it got killed was it was ahead of its time," Trapani says. "People don't understand its purpose. The thing I loved about it is it solved the problem of group communication via email and chat, those annoying group email threads that blossom into reply all hell."
Google has already open sourced much of Wave.
"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," Google senior vice president Urs Holzle wrote in the blog post that announced Wave's cancelation, due to low user adoption. "In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily liberate their content from Wave."
The source code for the Google Wave federation protocol, the "underlying network protocol for sharing waves between wave providers," can be downloaded here.
A few Network World readers who commented on the story "Google Wave Washes Out" expressed disappointment in its cancelation and hope that it will live on as an open source project.
"My experience with Wave has been a very successful and productive one," one commenter said. "With Wave, the team I have been working with [has] been able to collaborate on projects from a number of different countries and time zones. We simply would not have been able to do it without Wave."