UPDATE: EtherPad will be released as open source software!
I love EtherPad. It’s a collaborative text pad that lets you see what others write in realtime, character by character, and automatically highlights text in a different color based on who typed it. One of the best things about EtherPad was that a free public pad could be created instantly without logging in. Other users could be invited to collaborate with only a link to the pad. Now that has all gone away. When I tried to create a new pad today I got the following message:
Creation of new free pads is permanently disabled as part of EtherPad’s acquisition by Google.
Google Wave is an interesting experiment, but it’s nowhere even close to being a replacement for EtherPad. It doesn’t even highlight text automatically! My hope is that these guys will get put on the Google Docs team to add realtime collaboration there. Having to wait 15-30 seconds for page updates makes the tool practically useless for simultaneous editing.
Read about the EtherPad acquisition by Google and see how many people are disappointed.