Your mom is a ubiquitous messaging federated service.
9 second load time. And the scrollbar is uselessly broken. (Nonstandard behavior, arrow keys don't work, etc)
I do not know if that's a complete Wave server, or if it's missing a piece. But if it is a complete Wave server, there's nothing to "save". It's already been saved. You just need to run it yourself, and possibly support from Google for exporting your data once. If it isn't, maybe some people will fill in the blanks. If nobody steps forward to fill in the blanks then the demand probably wasn't there in the first place.
That's the thing—they haven't thrown any money at the problem at all. The whole problem is that it was a half-hearted effort from the start; Google didn't put Wave anywhere visible, they didn't integrate it with Gmail or Google Talk, or do anything else to get traction. They just sort of put it out there and hoped people would subscribe. That's how products work, but Wave isn't a product, it's a technology—and you have to sell a technology, company by company, until it's in use in a sufficiently large user-base that it becomes self-sustaining.
Imagine if the concept of "electronic mail" was invented today. You couldn't pull that off as a startup; you'd have to be Google-sized to even get off the ground.
Now, what Google could have done, would be to go to Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and whoever else that has any product or service that's vaguely message-/chat-oriented, and offer to help them rebuild that product/service on top of Wave. Wave Facebook walls, Wave MSN, Wave Flickr, etc. Just making one crappy AJAX client is exactly not the winning strategy.
I don't think it'd be all that different from launching the concept of microblogging or social networks. Startups did fine with that.
What Google should have done, having a technology on their hands and not a product, was make their other products either built on Wave or compatible with Wave (Docs, Chat, Mail - using Wave. Calendar, Pages integrated via robots, etc).
Then, you'd have a huge built-in user base that can ignore the complexity until they grok it and if they want it. And all their data will be waiting for them.
In the meantime, Google could develop and throw robots into their products as features. Being able to directly send messages to a robot for publishing on your blog platform of choice, or directly drag attachments to a robot that populates Dropbox/Flickr/whatever? Being able to add a plugin to schedule a party into an email chain that automatically updates Google Calendar? Having a service that detects tracking numbers and provides mouse-over summaries?
Even for users who would never want a Wave-like client, those features would make Google's existing products better and stickier. And none of it would involve burying every would-be user in complexity on day 1.
At this point, considering the Etherpad acquisition, you have to figure they're scrapping it and starting over -- not knowing anything about the situation I'd generally assume that was the right move.
If a company like Google is not going to invest in such technologies who will. This makes me think if Google is turning into a company which jumps on to a bandwagon once it starts rolling rather than be a creator of new ideas and technologies.
I don't know enough about internal Google to really say whether this is probable or not, but I've worked for companies where that would have been the case.
- I use wave daily and have for a while for basic 'group meetings' with people who work remote.
I am also surprised that Google didn't keep it alive for internal use (where Gmail came from) ~ perhaps they have something entirely new in the pipe.
Further, I'll argue that since Google effectively took away our common, central access to the EtherPad service (even though the source code remains), they in some sense "owe" the community the effort of giving Wave more of a shot --
although I expect a common response will be that "business doesn't owe you anything that doesn't make money (in an legal fashion)".
My other comments (e.g. interface, lack of documentation and post-launch publicity) are here:
They know a small but loyal following uses wave. They are shutting down because that wasn't what they had in mind for wave. They were aiming big and failed. That's ok, but only if it doesn't continue to drain from the company.
(Disclaimer: I'm a Novell employee but I don't speak for them).
New products fail all the time. When the company making the product fails to even explain what the product does and just heaps buzzwords together I don't feel any sense of loss when the product goes away. This wouldn't even be newsworthy if it wasn't Google behind it.