On Thursday, Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President of Operations, blogged on the official Google Blog (which, funnily enough, is just some blogspot blog, but whatever) that Google would no longer be developing Google Wave. Key elements of the technology are OpenSource so they may continue to be used and developed but Google itself is phasing out the project.
When Google Wave had been out for about five months, I noted that I did not like it much because at the same time, I was in the process of moving towards more basic text for day to day tasks, and Google Wave, which allows someone else to type with real time character by character transtubualization onto your document, is very much the opposite of that in every way I can imagine.
But I’m not happy that Google Wave has in fact “crashed on the lonely shore of Software User Indifference.” Indeed, there are people and organizations that use it, and it is unique and interesting. Indeed, (if I may say “indeed” twice in the same paragraph) it is a little disconcerting that Google would drop the project not because they think it sucks (they don’t seem to think this at all, assuming they are being honest about it) but because it is not the new Word plus Power Point and everyone’s main collaboration platform. What is wrong with maintaining (especially if using OpenSource resources) a niche technology? Is Google a major technology and information company, or a popularity contest?
Personally, I’m happy to wave wave goodbye, but I’d prefer it if Google didn’t.