Google purchased real-time document collaboration startup AppJet to fortify the Google Wave real-time collaboration platform, AppJet said on its blog Dec. 4.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though GigaOm reported a purchase price of $10 million. The move was a sellout by a company that felt it couldn't compete with the sheer scope of Wave and Google, one of AppJet's investors said.
Formed by several ex-Google employees, AppJet makes EtherPad, which enables users to import word processing documents, Web pages, PDFs and plain text files, and lets several them edit them at the same time. When multiple people edit the same document simultaneously, any changes are instantly reflected on everyone's screen. These sessions are saved as "pads."
As such, EtherPad essentially fulfills one of the core traits of Wave, which rolls e-mail, instant messaging, document collaboration, file sharing and social networking into one platform. Paul Graham, partner for AppJet investor Y Combinator, wrote:
""The reason they decided to go with Google was that they were literally overwhelmed by Wave: after meeting the Wave guys, they were so impressed that they (a) wanted to work on Wave themselves, and (b) didn't want to compete with it. After watching the Appjets tough it out for the past two years, I knew they weren't simply being cowards.""
However, there were some key differences in the way Wave and Etherpad toil in the market. Google is gradually rolling out the HTML5-based Wave for free to more than 100,000 users and has made it explicitly a public platform released under open source.
Now EtherPad is no longer accepting new customers, and anyone who have registered an e-mail address with EtherPad will be e-mailed an invitation to join the Google Wave preview by Dec. 31, 2009.
Users of the Free Edition or Professional Edition will be able edit their existing pads until March 31, 2010, but no new free public pads may be created and pads and info associated with them will be deleted after that date. Professional Edition users will not be charged for the EtherPad service after Dec. 4.