Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Just over a year after launching it in beta at the company’s developer conference, Google has decided to shut down Wave, the real-time collaboration tool that was designed to be a cross between instant messaging, group chat and email. In a blog post, Senior VP of Operations Urs Hölzle said that while the company had high hopes for the product, and despite the fact that it had “numerous loyal fans,” Google was canceling any further development of the feature, which the Google executive admitted “has not seen the user adoption we would have liked.”
Google have always pursued innovative projects because they want to drive breakthroughs in computer science that dramatically improve our users’ lives. Last year they launched developer preview of Google Wave, a web app for real time communication and collaboration, it set a high bar for what was possible in a web browser. It showed character-by-character live typing, and the ability to drag-and-drop files from the desktop, even “playback” the history of changes—all within a browser. Developers in the audience stood and cheered. Some even waved their laptops.
Google Wave has shown the power of this technology: sharing images and other media in real time; improving spell-checking by understanding not just an individual word, but also the context of each word; and enabling third-party developers to build new tools like consumer gadgets for travel, or robots to check code.
But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption. Hence Google don't plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but 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. In addition, Google will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.