You Wave "Good-bye" and I Wave "Hello"


Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Aug 05, 2010 GMT
Jon maddog Hall


A new blog posting from Google points to the fact that the highly touted “Wave” project has been terminated, and the general philosophy around this seems to be that “Wave” was a failure.


I was one of the people who looked at Wave and tried to figure out how it fit into my daily life. I tried using it from time to time, but in my life I am “off the net” so frequently that the real-time and high-bandwidth aspects of Wave left me cold and feeling like a fish washed up on shore.


The fact that Wave was not integrated into any other thing that Google was working on also made Wave painful for me, and created the decision point of whether I met up with people on email, some chat protocol, or Wave? What if that person or people did not “do” Wave? I (and my collegues) were left with indecision.


Google, not seeing the “adoption” that they had hoped, has decided not to continue developing Wave as a stand-alone tool.


With all of that, I do not feel that “Wave” was a failure. In a lot of ways Google was demonstrating what a lot of FOSS projects do, “release early and often”, just on a larger and more visible scale. Since Google had been successful in a lot of other projects like Wave, others just climbed on the bandwagon, ignoring for a bit the concepts of “Alpha” and “Beta” code.


Google has said that the most innovative parts of Wave (the drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing) is Open Source and they may try to integrate these into other products. Even if they do not, the fact the code is Open Source would allow others to integrate the code independent of what Google does.


I spent sixteen years of my life working for Digital Equipment Corporation. While that company is now gone, some of its innovations and technologies live on in Intel and ARM processors, and in various parts of different operating systems. If this was not true, I would be very depressed. However, even more technologies (both hardware and software) could have survived if those technologies had been “Open”, and that is what Google is doing.


So I, for one, encourage Google to keep innovating, and putting those innovations out as FOSS. While some may not become products immediately, many more will be available for discussion and use in other ways that even the Google engineers may not have envisioned.

Carpe Diem!

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