Google Wave code could live on in future open source projects

By , Network World |  Software, google wave

"Myself and a few other people in NZ and Australia were using this to collaborate on the running of a website, and found it really handy," writes another commenter. "Once you got into it, it was really easy to use. Just hope that there will be something we can use to replace it."

While the Wave code could live on in Google projects such as Buzz, Docs and Google Me, Trapani says it's hard to predict whether Google will put more of the Wave code into the open source domain. One issue is decoupling Wave code from the rest of Google's code base.

"I think, obviously, a lot of the code is already open sourced. I'm not sure if they'll open source more," she says.

There may be enough code out there already for ambitious developers to pick up where Google left off. While it's easy to think Google's failure indicates that it's unlikely anyone else will succeed, Trapani notes that many successful open source projects are based on abandoned projects and forks.

Google's failure may have been promising too much. "They said it's the new e-mail. That was a misstep. It set expectations very high, and it wasn't really an e-mail replacement," Trapani says. "No one understood how it would fit in their life."

Google Wave worked best with teams of six to 12 people, Trapani believes. Using the Google Wave code base, developers outside of Google might someday create a successful live project management tool.

"It has a lot of potential," she says. "Someone else could pick up that code which is arguably built by some of the best web engineers that exist, and do something with it and create another product."

Wave essentially combined document collaboration and messaging into one interface. Instead of e-mailing or instant messaging back and forth, collaborators make the conversation part of the document. The document could contain as many conversation "trees" and "branches" as necessary, each appearing in the section of the document that is being discussed. Sharing photos, maps and other media was also easy within Wave, she says.

Unfortunately, people didn't get it.

"It was not immediately obvious how to use Wave and what to use Wave for," Trapani says. "I felt like it really needed explanation."

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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