Just when everyone thought Google Wave will go down in history as one of the biggest flops ever, out comes Google with an announcement to ensure that Wave will continue to live on in some way. Except that this time, it will be the open-source community which Wave will call its home from now on: the Apache Software Foundation has agreed to absorb Google Wave as part of its Incubator program.
Wave may have been originally released to critical acclaim for its huge potential, but the all-in-one web-based computing and communications protocol quickly fell flat on its face when it was discovered that Wave was designed with one critical flaw.
Apparently, the developers were so focused about making Wave as flexible as possible, they completely neglected the end-user. The result: a Wave that was really only suitable for proficient developers to weave their way into the Wave ecosystem and protocol. And the rest, as they all say, is history.
But as one quickly learns in this field, history never lasts forever, and the latest bit of information from Google reveals that Google Wave is far from being dead and buried. While it will no longer be a standalone product, its goals of ultimately replacing emails, instant messaging and social networking placed on a permanent hiatus, its protocol is starting to find new life in server applications. Instead of letting the Google Wave project fade to nothingness, Google has opted to turn it over to the Apache Software Foundation.
According to the official Google Wave blog, software engineer Alex North claimed that in spite of Wave’s failure with the typical end-user, developers and industry partners were keen to continue development of the protocol because of its potential. By turning Google Wave over to Apache, Google will be able to ensure that “the community (of Wave users and developers) can continue to grow in the Apache way”.
Meanwhile, the Apache Software Foundation is not about to sit around idly on this latest contribution from Google. A quick look at the Wave Proposal page on Apache’s wiki shows that the Foundation plans to migrate the codebase from Google over to their own infrastructure and integrate it with its own ongoing ‘Wave In A Box” server project.
That being said, it seems that Apache’s aim to integrate Google Wave with its own server projects officially marks the end of the end-user centered Wave protocol most people knew and hated. However, nothing is ever definite in the world of IT and software, and we really will not be surprised if the Apache Software Foundation might eventually pony up an end user-centric version of Wave which would deliver exactly what Google wanted seven months ago.
But we will cross that bridge when we come to it.