Following a lack of interest from the online community, Google has made the decision to can its ambitious web application for real-time communication, Google Wave.
Designed and hailed as a new internet communication platform, Wave worked like other messaging systems such as email. Instead of sending a message and its entire thread of previous messages, or requiring all responses to be stored in your inbox, message documents (called waves) that contained complete threads of multimedia messages (blips) were stored on a central server. Waves were then shared with your collaborators who could be added or removed at any point.
“We have always pursued innovative projects because we want to drive breakthroughs in computer science that dramatically improve our users’ lives,” said Google’s Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President of Operations, in a farewell statement. Hölzle said that when Wave was originally unveiled to developers, people in the audience stood up and cheered. The general public though, didn’t feel the same. “Despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked,” Hölzle said. “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.”
Parts of the code and tools used to create and power Wave are already available as open source. “Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web,” Hölzle concluded.
The use cases we’ve seen show 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.