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Feb 28

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Jaiku Launches at ETel

Jaiku_S603rdEd.jpgThe most popular opening gambits of a phone conversation are "Can you talk?", "what are you up to?" and "Where are you?". Jaiku, a Finnish startup that just left the stage at ETel, was started with those facts in mind. Jaiku adds realtime availability and location information to your phone's address book. It came out of Beta with a major refesh of their client app and website today at ETel. I sat down with co-founder Jyri Engeström yesterday and recieved a sneak preview from him.

The client app is available for Nokia Series 60 phones (over 100 million deployed). Once loaded it checks the contact database and checks for fellow Jaiku members. Once members are found they are added to your network and their listing gains a lot of new data and functionality. It gives you the following additional information about your Jaiku contacts:

  • Availability - Green if the phone is on; Red if their phone is off. Also lists phone status such as silent, talking, and ringer on.
  • Latest Post - Just like on IM, Jaiku users can set a status message that can be viewed by any of their contacts. They can also route other feeds to their status message (like their blog or Flickr feed). This can be done via SMS, the Jaiku website, or their newly released API.
  • Location - User's location is listed as the cell tower's name. The name comes from Jaiku users. The one for ETel is "SFO Marriot - SFO Airport" The cell towers aren't geocoded (though that may come in the future).
  • People Nearby - This shows other nearby Jaiku users (this is detected via BlueTooth).
  • Calendar - What you're doing next
The newly refreshed Jaiku website allows for management of your network, permissioning of your information, and merging of RSS feeds.

Jaiku is the first app that lets you bring your social network with you. It also helps you to get your "story" to other people so that they don't have to keep interrupting you to see what you are up to, in effect you can broadcast your life events to them and they can choose to tune in when they are able. I love this type of app. As my friends will atest I send the occasional inappropriate Dodgeball and Twitter just to let them know where I am. The problem with that is the interrupt; I feel guilty. The fact that this information is available to my friends when they need it is very compelling to me.

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Anonymous   [02.28.07 06:48 PM]

It seems folks put alot of work in these "services" with idiotic names (that shows that someone knows how to google odd words and meanings and whois results) that don't really do all that much or even if they do won't last any longer than the time it takes google to do the same thing. Are people losing money on this stuff? Who are these people that put these things together? Why don't they have real jobs?

steve   [02.28.07 08:23 PM]

Having been through the process of naming a company, it's really damned hard to think of something short, simple, memorable, and different enough to enter into search engines.

Jaiku obviously has no meaning, but it's reasonably pleasant and easy to remember. If it makes a big hit, and it does actually look like a rather good idea, then you can google and jaiku to someone.

Sure, it's a bit simplistic as technology, but it's a good business because it makes a contact list on a phone the same as the contact list on AIM/Jabber/IM. That's something that can be explained within 5 seconds to most of the people who would buy something like that.

The implementation is going to be the key factor - does it cost money to update your status? How well does it integrate with your PC, so you don't end up having to maintain two lists? Will the uptake rate be fast enough to have enough Jaiku users to be worth being a Jaiku user?

It's a better idea than most, and could get past the adoption curve by friends mutually arranging to be on Jaiku for status information.

Simon   [02.28.07 11:07 PM]

I can't help thinking that this is too pragmatic. I understand where it's coming from, and I too feel guilty sometimes about interrupting people by calling them. But I wonder if that's just the geek market; for the ordinary personal market, a phone call carries emotional as well as pragmatic information: "What are you up to?" and "Where are you?" can often hide the emotional message of "how are you doing? I'm thinking about you."

More reason to avoid making that connection isn't necessarily a good thing.

Jyri   [03.01.07 04:22 PM]

We came up with the name Jaiku when we were trying to come up with a format for expressing what you're up to especially on phones. Japanese haikus are short poems about the present tense. In Finland the nomadic Lapps have a traditional song called "joiku" that's both spiritual & entertainment and doubles as distributed memory about what they've discovered on their travels. So Jaiku is a nod toward those traditions. I think the broader issue is whether there's a new format of content emerging that's shorter in length, more frequent, and whose value degrades more quickly over time than a blog post but that's not a direct message in the sense of IM or SMS. On Twitter they're tweets, which is a really nice name too but limited to English.

cervus   [03.02.07 04:05 PM]

i like the service a lot, been beta-testing it for a while. nice job on yesterday's launch! funny to learn more about the etomology of jaiku. keep up the good work! :)

nieminensundell   [03.09.07 06:16 AM]

I joined Jaiku community today and invited a few friends to join, too. I think it serves well the rational purpose I have - to know when it is appropriate to approach someone (phone not silent, not in a meeting, maybe even nearby). And the emotional reasons are obvious - I can check how people are doing when I do not see them (assuming they update their status with a few words, which they seem to be doing). I am definitely not a geek but rather a mass-market consumer, so there might be future for Jaiku :-)

site ekle   [10.18.07 06:49 AM]

I think the broader issue is whether there's a new format of content emerging that's shorter in length, more frequent, and whose value degrades more quickly over time than a blog post but that's not a direct message in the sense of IM or SMS

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