AppJet, the collaboration startup Google acquired two weeks ago today, Dec. 17 released its EtherPad code and sent its users invitations to try Google Wave.
Former AppJet CEO and newly minted Google employee Aaron Iba said the code will let developers glean EtherPad's real-time inducing algorithms and run their own EtherPad servers so that the "functionality can live on even after we shut down etherpad.com."
Google acquired AppJet Dec. 4 to augment its Google Wave real-time collaboration platform, which lets users send e-mail and instant messages, share files, network with other users, and co-edit documents in real time. Google's goal is to fortify Wave's document editing capabilities with EtherPad, AppJet's app for letting users edit word processing documents, Web pages, PDFs and plain text files, in real-time sessions called pads.
However, AppJet angered users when it said it would be closing its EtherPad app to new users and shutting down the service entirely on March 31, 2010.
AppJet quickly backtracked. Iba said that his team would work with the Google Wave team to open source the EtherPad code and the AppJet Web Framework. This would allow users to create new pads.
However, Iba said that AppJet's servers have been pounded by traffic since Google bought the company, and that new pad creation may need to be shut down sooner than the March 31 termination date. He wrote:
"You may have noticed that etherpad.com has had a lot of downtime lately. That is because of new server load issues caused by the higher traffic following our announced acquisition by Google. We are doing our best to keep the site up and running, but it's clear that we will not be able to do so indefinitely. Our plan remains to discontinue the hosted service completely by March 31st, 2010... New public pad creation may need to be shut down sooner, depending on whether traffic continues to grow or taper off."
Iba invited users to pad data through the "import/export" tab on the pad page or the "download" link at the bottom of the pad list on pro domains.
He added that while etherpad.com will be shutting down, he hopes developers will be able to take the newly open-sourced code and build not only EtherPad servers that talk to one another, but that communicate with Google Wave servers via the Google Wave Federation Protocol.
"If you are interested in digging into the code and improving etherpad, then we will try to support you in our spare time until we begin working full-time on Google Wave in February," he said.
AppJet is already trying to push users to Google Wave, sending EtherPad users Google Wave invitations Dec. 18:
""As an EtherPad user, we thought you might be interested in trying out the preview of Google Wave. Like EtherPad, Google Wave lets you collaborate on rich text in really real-time. It also does a bunch of useful things that EtherPad does not do, such as organizing your waves in an inbox. Although Google Wave is only in a preview phase, we think you might still find it useful.""