When Google Wave was first revealed at Google I/O 2009, I was anxious to get my ticket into this great new landscape of communication and collaboration. As the preview was rolled out, all us techies were inviting our techie friends so we could test out all the cool things that could be done with the new platform.
For me, the promise was more than just a new way to communicate, it was a look at simplification of my communication. Centralized communication that could be chat, collaboration, email, social interactions and project management, just to name a few. The reason something as old as email works today is that all email is federated. You don't have to be on GMail to get email from someone on GMail. For those of us that remember, this was not always the case. For me, this is the problem with the Internet today. Twitter, Facebook, My Space, LinkedIn, they all require an account to participate. StatusNet is a great example of how federated systems could work for a service like Twitter. Belong to one service and subscribe remotely to users on another network without having to join every network as well.
Back last December 2009, Google opened up federation between Google's Developer's sandbox (wavesandbox.com) which meant anyone could build a Wave server that could federate with the sandbox with an open source project known as FedOne.
After buying a yet another domain, installing an XMPP server (OpenFire, an open source instant messaging server of which brings the dynamic nature of Wave), registering SSL certificates and building the source, I was able to successfully federate with the sandbox as well. (web interface is the Wave Sandbox and the terminal is my Fed One instance)
After Google I/O 2010, FedOne was updated to have a "FedOne Simple Web Client" in addition to the terminal client which again gave the taste of possibility.
I was beside myself when the news came out the Google was going to stop developing Wave as a standalone product: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/update-on-google-wave.html
There are about 1M users on Wave and many are disappointed that the development will cease and will only continue running till the end of 2010. There is even a site that has about 20,000 people try to save Wave at http://savegooglewave.com.
The only comfort is that Wave's protocol is open and can be downloaded and built upon at http://waveprotocol.com. I am hoping Google will open source the web interface so more federated services will pop up. There are a number of companies that are using some of these technologies to build collaboration options into their own offerings. As Google has said, Wave taught them a lot and Docs' recent addition of live typing and Google Buzz's threaded comments are signs of adopted technologies. I would love to see the product live on but I will wait to see the fruits of Wave's labor in future products to come. ~Lou
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