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In our last post on Google Wave, we talked about the impending final shutdown of the service on April 30th, 2012 (it is currently in read-only mode), and the potential for Apache Wave and Walkaround to keep the real-time collaboration tool going. We’ve even done a bit of hunting on our own for a suitable Wave alternative, but the reality is that Wave was a bit ahead of its time. Fortunately, another possibility for resurrection has surfaced: Rizzoma.
Rizzoma is a free, open source version of Google Wave that boasts some improvements to the look, feel, and function of the service. Some of the features they talk about on their site are an easy to use mobile version that actually works, improves search, the ability to to assign and track tasks within Rizzoma, easy team management and content sharing, and a built in mindmap mode.
Rizzoma also promises the ability to re-install your favourite open source gadgets from Google Wave, and the ability to import your old Waves to the new platform.
The unfortunate truth, however, is that Rizzoma’s current level of marketing far outstrips the actual state of the product. Their website looks very promising, with a big button that says log in with your Google account and a video that makes you believe that the service is ready to go. I don’t know if it was an oversight on their part that they don’t include a note that the service is in beta and most of the truly awesome features are still on their way, but the reality is that a newcomer to Rizzoma will likely find themselves confused and disappointed. At least for now. After a bit of hunting on their support forums, I found that the bulk of what’s promised should be available within a month.
Right now, @mentions work, basic document creation, editing, and collaboration is available, the mobile version is functional, and the improved look and feel is on point. Importing your old Waves is also working, via the WaveShortcuts Chrome extension created by Project Volna — who are also the people behind Rizzoma. Importing your Waves via the extension is fairly simple, and the final result is readable and usable, though huge Waves with a lot of nested upon nested replies could get a bit unwieldy.
If you have been on the hunt for a Google Wave alternative, or are just looking for a real time collaboration tool that works across platforms, Rizzoma looks promising, despite the potential marketing/first impression snafu. If they are true to their word about getting the big features up and running effectively within a month, then we may finally have a winner here — proivded they can get enough support. Rizzoma is definitely the most promising Google Wave alternative I’ve come across so far. If you are at all interested, you may want to check them out and start importing your Waves now, as the time window is closing fast.
Check out the video below to see where Rizzoma is taking Wave:
Learn how to import your Waves to Rizzoma:
Check out Rizzoma and tell us what you think!