Google Wave Closes Today, Move Out While You Still Can

    April 30, 2012
    Zach Walton
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Remember Google Wave, the company’s first attempt at social networking? It was really ambitious and the idea is still really awesome, but the majority of users really didn’t think so. While the company has learned from their mistakes to create the seemingly successful Google+, there are still some people who really cared about Google Wave.

For those users, we first and foremost salute your dedication. As Google Wave enters its last day of existence, let’s look back on its birth and its more interesting features. We’ll also look at how you can move your existing Wave conversations off of Google and into the new Wave – Apache Wave.

Google released Wave to quite a bit of excitement in 2009. Just like Google+, the initial launch of the product was an invitation only affair. Unlike Google+ though, people were desperate for an invitation because this was the first big push from Google for something unique in the social networking world.

Even though Google did everything they could to save Wave and even opened the service to the general public in 2010, it wasn’t enough to save the service. Google announced that the Google Wave development was ending due to a lack of interest.

Google shutting down Wave development wasn’t the end of the project though. A lot of people saw the untapped potential in Wave and began to build on its open source foundations. It’s now called Apache Wave after Google gave the application to the Apache Foundation. While it’s currently in incubation, interested developers can contribute to the Google Wave Protocol project here.

That all leads up to today, the announced date for the death of Google’s version of Wave. The application has been sitting around on its death bed for two years, but Google is now content to let it go. You have until the end of the day to get your stuff off of the service using the .pdf export feature.

Even though Google Wave never took off, it has influenced other technologies including the extremely useful real time collaboration feature found in Google Docs. The collaboration feature from Wave can also be found in the recently released Google Drive apps. So don’t think of Google Wave as dying, it’s just returning to the lifestream of Google to empower other products and applications.

Were you a fan of Google Wave? Even though it’s been on death row for two years now, are you still going to miss it? Let us know in the comments.

  • Andrew

    This article is not complete without mentioning the startups that found Google Wave to be so productive for their own work, that they were literally forced to develop their own products.

    There are several:

    * http://rizzoma.com/ – free and open source, it continues and expands the Google Wave philosophy with cool features like tasks and Twitter-like mentions.

    * http://co-meeting.com/ – very similar to Google Wave at first glance, but seems to focus more on meetings.

    * http://runby.me/ – a B2B service for companies that go heavy on text-based communications. It is designed to support both email and hosted conversations within a single UX, allows to assign tasks and keep track of them, and has built-in workflows for general communications, helpdesk, Kanban and sales.

    I bet there are others out there. Google Wave was not about social – it was a business communication tool that was not positioned and packaged properly.

  • http://www.attachmate.com Travis Ehrenstrom

    I almost forgot about Google Wave! This was quite the blast from the past! I remember receiving my invite via e-mail and being so excited to join, and as soon as I signed up, I realized that I had no friends, or anyone to communicate with on the wave.

    I think any massive social media recall is going to be difficult with the prominence that Facebook has created, but I have been pleasantly surprised with Google+. The thing I like most about + is its integration into all things Google, particularly gmail and Google Docs.

    I think Google made a very smart move in shutting down Wave, and doing it in a really appropriate way, donation. Here’s to hoping that + doesn’t go down that same rabbit hole!