So what does this mean? There are currently two major Wave infrastructures in place, both operated by Google.
The first is the developer preview sandbox that has been made available during Google I/O earlier this year. The second is the consumer preview, rolled out to 100.000 (and counting) early adopters in September.
Google Wave has been designed from the ground up to allow federated distribution models, meaning you can build and host your own Wave servers, e.g. for your corporate users, and make them talk to other Wave servers. It’s very much like the distributed nature of SMTP based email transmission, but technically way more complex due to the real-time nature of the service.
According to Lars Rasmussen, one of the inventors of Google Wave to whom we’ve spoken at eComm Europe, Google plans on opening up the sandbox infrastructure for federation later today, allowing us to let our own Wave servers connect to Google’s infrastructure. (We’ve received conflicting information that Google might in fact open the production environment.)
David Wang, one of the leading architects of Wave, told us that initially federation should be considered experimental, as the team will iterate and adjust a lot. He also demoed a terminal based Wave client.
To enable the community to develop Wave Google has published the Wave Federation Protocol and Conversation Model and some 40k lines of code under a very liberal license.
We’re about to see a very first demo of it within the next hour and will provide more details as the conference progresses.
(I’ve still got some Google Wave invites left, so in case you’re not yet enjoying Wave, DM me at @24z and I’ll add you to the list.)