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Google Wave washes ashore in soggy cardboard Box

Drops unwanted code in open source developer laps

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Google has boxed up its unsuccessful Wave project and handed the unwanted code to open source developers.

The company announced the “Wave in a Box” project yesterday, and said it had already dished up two hundred thousand lines of Wave protocol code.

Mountain View plans to beef up its existing Wave server and web client examples that have already been open sourced, by getting third parties to create a “more complete application”.

Google slammed the door on Wave in August because so few users and – more importantly – developers were playing with the near real-time collaboration tool.

On Monday, the ad broker confirmed that Wave would limp on until at least the end of this year to give the chance for its two or three fans to wipe away their tears, dry their eyes and move on.

So it’s hardly surprising to see Google now sling the code out to open source developers. The company undoubtedly lost a few hefty dollars on the doomed Google-does-Google project.

Its decision to be less protective with at least some of the code might actually make Wave in a Box a better web-based comms application down the line, albeit on a much smaller scale.

There’s no release date yet for Wave in a Box, which will import existing Wave conflabs into a local server.

Google was also keen to point out that “some additional configuration” would be needed to get Wave in a Box to connect the federated architecture dots. In fact, the code on offer appears to be a stripped-down version of Wave, which itself was pre-beta (not exactly alpha) and very flaky.

“This project will not have the full functionality of Google Wave as you know it today. However, we intend to give developers and enterprising users an opportunity to run wave servers and host waves on their own hardware,” said Google software engineer Alex North. ®

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