Geek Trivia

The Name of Google’s Short-Lived “Wave” Collaboration Framework Was Inspired By Which Sci-Fi Show?

Doctor Who
Star Trek
Battlestar Galactica
An Early Attempt To Combat VHS Tape Piracy Involved What?

Answer: Firefly

In 2009, Google released a real-time collaborative editing framework called Google Wave. The Wave system was web-based and brought together key features of older communication platforms like email, Usenet posting, instant messaging, and previous modes of communication with real-time updating and centralized storage of the “waves” (the message documents) and the “blips” (multimedia). Although it didn’t gain a ton of traction (and Google abandoned the project shortly after announcing it), it was well received by the people who tested it.

The name of the service was a direct nod to the popular (and, somewhat ironically, also short-lived) Sci-Fi series Firefly. During developer preview presentation of the platform, the developers made multiple references to the show while presenting Wave. Within the context of the show, a “wave” is a real-time or recorded audio-visual transmission sent over the Cortex—the show’s deep-space communications network equivalent to our internet.

If all of this has you a bit nostalgic, don’t fret, Firefly is available for streaming on Hulu (or as a Blu-ray set). As for Google Wave, it was open-sourced and handed over to the Apache Foundation for further development as an incubator project, but it was officially retired on January 15, 2018.

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television.