Google Nov. 2 made its Google Wave Federation Protocol available to let would-be wave providers build their own Wave servers and get them communicating with other Wave servers, similar to the way e-mail servers talk to one another.
Google wave is currently letting more than 100,000 users send each other instant messages, share files and connect via social networking tools in sessions called “waves.”
Wave has been released as open source under the Apache license, and application developers have been free to download the code to build applications that work with Wave.
So there are users at the front lines, with applications developers somewhere in the middle. Yet there is a third part to the Wave tale that could become the foundation for the Wave experience.
The Google Wave team has said it wants to enable any developer with the programming chops to work on “experimental interoperability,” using the Google Wave Federation Protocol, an open extension to the XMPP core protocol that enables near-real-time communication of wave updates between two Wave servers.
““Given the goal [of building] out a distributed network of providers, we’re glad to be taking this step today and opening up the federation port for development purposes. We look forward to working with you to continue iterating on the protocol, developing an open source production quality reference implementation, and, of course, federating wave.google.com with many wave providers in the future.”“
This federation aims to enable Wave servers to proliferate in a manner akin to the way e-mail systems sprouted up, paving the way to reach more users in the future.
But how many programmers will want to build their own Wave servers? That remains to be seen. After all, the service has been tricky for some users to get comfortable with, prompting Lifehacker editors to create a 90-page user manual for the platform.
If users are stymied by Wave, would developers want to spend time and resources coding Wave servers to facilitate such communications?