Google Wave finds new life thanks to Apache Software Foundation

After being called off by Google thanks to lack of interest, their would-be revolutionary Wave product has been resurrected by the open source Apache Software Foundation as WIAB, or Wave in a Box. The code is being migrated from Google’s servers over to Apache systems for the purpose of further development by interested parties, including the US Navy.

It’s difficult to deny that Google Wave represents the brilliant execution of several great ideas, but I’m sure I’m not the only person that has been involved in a conversation about the nebulous concept of the software that went something like this:

“So, what am I looking at here?”

“It’s an HTML 5 app that replaces email, allows for group chats, is great for individual IM-type communications, and facilitates live collaboration on documents with media. Oh, and you can add other people to the entire conversation at any time without group permission and mess with others’ text, effectively changing what anyone has said. It’s hilarious.”

“No, I know what it does. What is it?

And perhaps that was Google’s primary stumbling block in marketing Wave; they pretty much said to the world, here’s what it’s capable of, what do you think it’s for? With an 80 minute presentation at the end of May, 2009 (an abridged version that I cut for PhoneDog is embedded below), Google wowed and befuddled millions of curious onlookers, offering up more questions about their own product than answers.

So…What is it?

Personally, I can’t say I’m any closer to understanding where Wave fits in a daily workflow than I was just after that May, 2009 presentation or when Google announced it would discontinue development this past August. Perhaps this new project will lead to the discovery (or invention?) of more practical applications of the software for everyday users. Still, I wouldn’t be surprized if it ended up primarily an obscure tool for small software development teams.

What do you think? Was Google Wave simply undefined and ahead of its time, or too convoluted for casual consumers? Vote in the poll below, and follow the link to read more about Apache’s WIAB.

Via The Register