In case you missed the announcements last week, Google Wave will live on, and quite likely prosper, in the open source development hands of Apache. In November, Google made a proposal to the Apache Software Foundation to take over development of Wave, hoping to keep the potential of the project alive and bring new blood to its development. The proposal mentioned several weighty companies (including the US Navy) that are still actively using Wave, which was originally set to shut down at the end of 2010, and listed people willing to commit to the project from both within and outside of Google.
Prior to talks with Apache, Google had already made a standalone version of Wave available to interested developers. The end product was named “Wave in a Box” and maintained much of Wave’s functionality. It was even able to import Wave data and communicate with other Wave in a Box installations through a federated protocol. Apache is essentially installing Wave in a Box to their servers and adding it to their Incubator projects as a means to gather a community that will continue active development. I’m not sure whether all existing Wave data will come with it, or not, but it is always possible that the new Apache Wave will offer importing of your Wave data at some point. If you want to act now, there is already a button in each single Wave that allows for exporting to HTML, or PDF with attachments, and Google is apparently working on a tool to export large amounts of Waves at one time, as well as a way to access your Waves in Google Docs.
At any rate, for those of you who were following our Wave Alternatives posts, there is definite hope on the horizon for a better, stronger, and ultimately more useful Wave in the near future.
Keep tabs on the Wave Incubator project here.
What are your thoughts on Apache Wave?