I was psyched when I first read the subject, since I figured they'd be lending Google Docs their awesome text editor. Instead they're going to Google Wave, where the interface blows. Etherpad's lightyears more useful, more flexible, and more valuable. Blah.
Any early-adopter of a start-up product accepts the risk that the company behind the product might be unsuccessful. Customers like that bet, in part, on the notion that despite the statistically long odds, the company is making every conceivable effort to stay alive and succeed.
The 'buyout-and-the-product-dies'-type exit introduces a sort of divided loyalty and misalignment between the goals of the founders and the goals of their customers - if you're unsuccessful you might fail and we might suffer an abrupt service termination but at the same time, if you're quite successful, we might also suffer an abrupt service termination.
These transactions trade on the goodwill of early adopters. And they make it harder for other startups as potential early adopters start to assume that it's better to wait for what Google releases instead of investing time in a product that will be scrapped either if the company fails or is successful and acquired.
I do not begrudge them making money at all. But one reason that they have "millions of dollars worth of Google stock" is because they offered a service that people adopted and paid for. I think they have more of an obligation to customers and users than the initial announcement indicated and I worry that not taking better care of customers in the transition makes it hard for other startups.
It now looks like Google has reconsidered the shutdown and EtherPad will be on-line until open sourced. http://etherpad.com/ep/blog/posts/etherpad-back-online-until...
To the Etherpad guys: listen up! it goes like this, tonight, wherever you are, you're buying a round for everyone, capice?
Any big fish could have taken their client base without paying a dime; everyone from Skype to Computer Associates could have obsoleted them without even trying. Heck, Open Source IM packages like Pidgin could easily add a service like Etherpad and those boys would have labored for nothing.
If you don't like what I am saying, the next time you cash out, just know that I am just as happy for you :-)
I will have to repent and become a consumer activist: I will boycott products A/B tested on humans.
Etherpad ROCKED - I've spent a couple weeks now with Wave, used it for a bunch of projects, and every time I use it, I did so grudgingly, realizing that Etherpad was lighter, cleaner, and more elegant compared to Wave's all-in-one platform approach. Yes, it's true that I can insert YouTube Videos, Polling Systems, and even a freaking ChatServer into my WaveDocuments - but it always felt like more of a technology exercise than a useful use of an application.
Let's hope that the EtherPads can do for Wave, what the Mint Team will (hopefully) do for Intuit.
Game recognizes game, and right now I don't see much of it in this thread.
Frameworks are pretty useless unless you have a killer app built on it.
But, the meat of Wave isn't XMPP, its the combination of Operational Transforms on a federated XMPP layer with a web interface. Each of these features is equally important, so don't overlook them. OT makes collaboration easy, the web interface is the easiest user experience, and XMPP lets you scale the backend.
This is why I hate XMPP. Over-engineered to the point of absurdity.