Jaiku is a social networking site that competes directly with Twitter. It allows users to share their activity streams – logs of everyday things as they happen – using web feeds. Jaiku activity streams can be shared via the Web, instant messaging and on mobile phones via SMS.
Jaiku was founded in February, 2006 by Jyri EngestrÃ¶m and Petteri Koponen from Finland. The Helsinki-based company released the service on the Web in July 2006. Google has just announced that they have acquired Jaiku. The financial terms of the acquisition and their intentions are unclear at present.
According to the founders of Jaiku, “Activity streams and mobile presence are important areas where we believe Google can add a lot of value for users. Jaiku’s technology and talented team are a great addition to Google’s current application and mobile teams.”
While Google’s acquisitions in the social media space have been erratic and mostly unsuccesful, this acquisition might not join the likes of Orkut or Dodgeball. Instead, if their acquisition of mobile social networking site Zingku is anything to go by, Jaiku’s mobile and SMS-posting technology was probably what Google was after.
Comparisons with Twitter have been favourable for Jaiku due to its mobile component and the blog-like posting method. Users can inform their friends about their activities through Twitter-style micro-blog posts as well as their exact current location via a cool mobile-enabled “presence” feature. However the number of phones supported is quite limited and posting via SMS requires a European number.