Google buys Jaiku

10Oct07

The Google blog today has made a surprising announcement in that they are acquiring Twitter competitor Jaiku.

In my opinion this is a good move for Google and further proof that the largest software vendors are taking social media more seriously than ever.

FactoryCity has a great post explaining why Google bought them – the bit that caught my eye was this:

In the scheme of things, it really doesn’t have anything to do with Twitter, other than that Twitter is a dumb network that happens to transport simple messages really well in a format like Jaiku’s while Jaiku is a mobile service that happens to send dumb messages around to demonstrate what social presence on the phone could look like. These services are actually night and day different and it’s no wonder that Google bought Jaiku and not Twitter.

I don’t doubt that in terms of functionality Jaiku beats Twitter hands down but realistically that doesn’t make too much difference. Twitter has caught the eye of the people and as a result has become the default micro-messaging platform. Which is why I believe in what FactoryCity say in that Google have bought some engineers and IP that will allow them to have a migration path to the mobile platform. If anyone doubts whether this will be successful look at how the iPhone has changed user behaviour and driven online usage in a way that operators have dreamed about for years.

The area of mobile social media platforms has intensified recently – Jajah has tried to muscle in on eBay’s acquired Skype package and competitor offerings like Rebtel show a lot of promise. Nevertheless, time will tell us what Google intend to do with this acquisition but I expect a lot more activity in mobile social media platforms moving ahead.

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