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Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

Why Jaiku, Not Twitter?

A lot of the discussion of Jaiku's acquisition by Google seems to see Jaiku as a competitor to twitter. For example, says:

This is somewhat surprising news considering the perceived dominance of Twitter in the so-called “lifestreaming” space. Additionally, Twitter is co-founded by Evan Williams, who was the creator of Blogger, which was previously acquired by Google. In a world where price is no object for Google, it’s interesting that they would opt for Jaiku and not Twitter.

The answer seems pretty obvious to me. Jaiku isn't a "lifestreaming" company per se. They are a mobile company in the business of creating smarter presence applications. Far from being a runner up behind twitter, they are a leader in a category most people haven't fully grasped yet. Google is clearly thinking a lot about mobile, and so they do grasp it.

(For more info on what I find most exciting about Jaiku, see I Love My iPhone, but Jaiku.)

tags: google, jaiku, mobile, presence, twitter  | comments: 19   | Sphere It


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Comments: 19

Robert "kebernet" Cooper   [10.09.07 11:40 AM]

My question is, why Jaiku and not actually work on Dodgeball. Dodgeball was a great idea and fairly well executed, but it became complete abandonware since Google bought it.

Craig Carignan   [10.09.07 01:11 PM]

I agree with the "kebernet." Dodgeball was a fairly good service that has been ignored by Google. What's next for Yahoo is Mixd coming back?

Marc Hedlund   [10.09.07 01:56 PM]

Really? I went to Nikolaj's Jaiku page today and didn't realize I wasn't on Twitter for more than a minute. It looks pretty much the same to me.

Tom Armitage   [10.09.07 02:23 PM]

Well, the web pages look the same. Jaiku's real advantage is in all the stuff that's not on the web side - its address-book-with-presence for S60 clients is a fantastic piece of software - and where the whole thing began.

Its focus on mobile really puts Twitter's SMS-based interfaces to shame.

Personally, I use Twitter, because it's where my friends are, and I don't have an S60 phone. But in many ways - especially for a firm trying to break into mobile with a bang - it's a much better platform than Twitter, and thus probably a better purchase.

Wayne Smallman   [10.09.07 02:35 PM]

"Twitter is co-founded by Evan Williams, who was the creator of Blogger, which was previously acquired by Google."

I'm pretty sure Google are looking beyond previous business relationships.

And besides, while Twitter is the more popular service, it's certainly not the best...

Antonio Piccolboni   [10.09.07 02:38 PM]

It seems to me what we need is not an addressbook with activity state, but a next gen scheduling application that allows us to optimize our schedule without hiring an admin. That means taking into account what other people schedules are including what they are doing at the moment; the available and preferred methods of interaction (mail, chat, videoconference, face to face etc); physical presence and transportation (gps, travel planning etc); other non scheduled commitment (keep two hours a day for reading; one for physical activity, etc); general optimization (like try to schedule meetings away from rush hours etc). Instead we have multiple applications for each of the tasks I mentioned (navigation, maps, travel, mail, chat, presence, tele-everything, calendar, todo etc), possibly non compatible (like the various teleconference apps), duplicated (like in work schedule vs private schedule) and absolutely not tied and not interoperating and with no signs of optimization anywhere (have you tried to auto-schedule a meeting in outlook? It's always at 8am). At this point we don't need more applications, we need fewer working together. We need standard protocols and web services. To go back to jaiku, I don't want to have to check my addressbook until people are free to talk to me, even assuming they enter their current occupation with religious precision. I want the telephone to ring automagically as soon as we have time, we are tired of typing and one has something to say to the other, and even better when we happen to be in walking distance from each other, and within a mile from a coffee shop. I want to specify: keep me in touch with that person once a month possibly face to face, and see it happen.

Guillaume Riflet   [10.09.07 03:32 PM]

I'd just like to stress out that "lifestreaming" IS an interesting concept:

"Every time I ping Twitter, the message is time stamped. Every time I post a link to, that's time stamped. Every time I upload a picture to Flickr, a time stamp of when the picture was taken is also sent. Whenever I listen to a song on iTunes, the track information is sent to with a time stamp. (...) Just about every time somebody publishes something on the Web, it gets time stamped. Wouldn't it be nice to pull in all these disparate bits of time stamped information and build up a timeline of online activity?"

wrote Jeremy Keith in late 2006, thus defining the concept of lifestream.

To me, FriendFeed, Jaiku and Google Web History are "lifestreamers" in the Jeremy Keith efinition.

Twitter is not. Or better yet, it's only a narrow bandwidth (though a very interesting one) of the full-spectrum of a "lifestream".

But that's my view; what's yours?


Hong Xiaowan   [10.09.07 07:47 PM]

Twitter is a new conservative company. Jaiku is more active, I like Jaiku more.
For me, twitter is a history.

Tim O'Reilly   [10.09.07 09:33 PM]

Guillaume --

I agree that lifestreaming is very interesting. It's a huge concept. Facebook feed is also a great example.

We definitely need better tools for managing large lifestreams, and I'd love to see fewer tweets or jaikus that are daily doings and more that are functional. I don't really care that people are having their morning coffee or walking their dog. But I do care that they posted a new picture or blog post, or are attending a meeting, or going on a trip.

People might want to publish those things, but I want more options than "ignore this person." I want to be able to manage the life events that are meaningful to me.

And they may be different based on how much I already know about the person.

Lots to think about here.

Bernie Goldbach   [10.09.07 09:33 PM]

There are some things that Jaiku can do much better than Twitter but that doesn't mean they are compelling reasons to use Jaiku.

Jaiku offers a stable, reliable and easy administration of channels. We use channels for lost and found in college, for the official back chat at conferences and as a podcast prep facility between team members.

Jaiku offers a clever way to crest onto the front page of a Google search for a key term. Who would have thought that you could power your way to the top of a search with fewer than 140 characters and no web site of your own?

Jaiku lets you control the noisy chatter without offending the noisemakers. You can subscribe to someone on Jaiku, appear to be following them, but unsubscribe to their Jaiku messaging. This means you won't get the noisemakers on your mobile phone.

Jaiku's mobile messaging is much more robust than Twitter's. From experience, I know Twitter has improved during the summer of 2007, but I will never forget getting inundated with a constantly repeating cycle of the same old 30 dead tweets one week while in Ireland. It just wouldn't stop and those text messages kept more important SMS traffic from getting to my mobile in box.

I think more people in Europe use text messaging than the total number of people who own mobile phones in the States. I think Google appreciates the sophistication that Jaiku's team brings to mobile lifestreaming and hope that team can continue cranking out subtle and welcome improvements.

Tim O'Reilly   [10.09.07 09:39 PM]

Marc --

What Tom said. The fact that web developers are so focused on the web is one of the great weaknesses of many of today's startups. There's a new world coming where "software above the level of a single device" will become more and more important as one of the key Web 2.0 drivers. Jaiku is a native phone app, and what you see on the web is only a small part of what it offers.

The very fact that it appears to web folks to be a twitter clone is the meaningful data point here.

Alexis Brion   [10.10.07 02:46 AM]

From my point of view Google has made another good move as Jaiku seems to have a much more clear interface and, maybe, better chances to win European hearts. I would really like to test it! I wrote an article about Jaiku design:

vanderwal   [10.10.07 03:50 AM]

Thank you for writing this post, not only is was the Mashable post getting on my nerves, but so were many posts from friends on Twitter.

Not only is the lifestream killer and the presense application (it is THE reason I bought my Nokia), but Jaiku is one of the few platforms that starts understanding and implementing listening to those I have a social relationship with. Jaiku has granular listening that I set for my social relations lifestreams, it is a huge step in the right and optimal direction of granular social networks.

I am hoping Goolge does not mangle the product and this time intelligently integrates Jaiku with a mindful approach with privacy and preferences. I am hoping Google can finally start understanding these two areas, hopefully with the Jaiku's wonderful understanding Google can finally start getting it right.

derek   [10.10.07 05:09 AM]

These microblogs are in a unique position at the nexus of the following:

1. Publishing: catalogues and reports >> website >> blog >> rss >> microblog
2. Written communication: letters >> memos & fax >> email >> IM >> microblog
3. Telephonic communication: telephone >> mobile >> VOIP and IPhone >> microblog

As you say, "software above the level of a single device".

With IPhone talking to Twitter, maybe this is an area for the GPhone to make a powerful entrance too?

Thomas Witt   [10.10.07 05:10 AM]

Tim, thanks for this great entry.

rick   [10.10.07 07:34 PM]

Whatever happened to Meetro?

Andrea Vascellari   [10.11.07 11:57 PM]

Hello from Finland!

I use both, Jaiku and Twitter, but Jaiku allows more interactivity in each post thanks to comments on each post, that's why I love it! + it aggregates feeds, other reason why I love it!

Next Monday (15th Oct.) Jaiku is guest on my show (VMC), we will talk about microblogging/microchannels and Jaiku of course.

This is a preview of the Jaiku episode on VMC

Tim, you are mentioned in the episode too so stay tuned!


Doug Clinton   [10.12.07 12:48 AM]

Perhaps Google actually did some due dilligence work and understood why Twitter is down so often, unable to deal with load and very buggy.

I recently switched on my instant messenger alerts for Twitter after disabling it for a while and am receiving updates from people who I am not even following, some of whom have private streams. Those updates do not appear on my home page. Clearly their database is in a bad state.

Duke   [10.17.07 02:43 PM]

Google wants to include some of Jaiku in upcoming mobile phone os. It is pure technology buy. Nothing to do with users, twitter and web. It is all about phone PIM (contact list, calendar etc.). It will likely be open for developers to use as sort of API in upcoming os.

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