Jaiku는 사람들이 자신의 위치정보와 일상에 대한 short updates를 웹이나 친구의 이동전화로 주고받을 수 있는 마이크로 블로깅이라는 컨셉을 서비스 하는 회사이다. 작년에 Helsinki에서 설립된 Jaiku는 모바일 응용프로그램을 개발하는 벤처기업으로, 이동전화 이용자들이 업데이트된 서로의 위치정보 및 아이디어를 손쉽게 공유할 수 있게 해주는 소프트웨어를 전문적으로 제작한다.
Jaiku, Twitter, Pownce, Plazes, Facebook은 정도의 차이는 있지만, 기본적으로 사용자들에게 자신의 업데이트(무엇을 하고 있는지, 어디에 있는지 등)를 그들의 가족, 친구들 또는 관심지인들 에게 보내는 개념이다. 유사한 서비스를 제공하고 있는 Jaiku와 Twitter 중, 사용자 규모가 작은 자이쿠를 인수한것은 모바일 downloadable 소프트웨어에 대한 Google의 속내를 보인 것이라 판단된다.
Google은 이미 Android라는 모바일 솔루션 전문업체를 인수 한바 있으며, 이번 인수도 자이쿠의 모바일 메세징 기술 확보를 위한 포석일 것이다. 조만간 Google은 사용자들이 PC 없이도 Google 서비스에 접속할 수 있도록 새로운 모바일용 운영체제를 발표를 기대해 본다.
The acquisition could signal that a Google phone is in the works.
Earlier this week, Google announced that it had acquired Jaiku, a Finnish startup that lets people broadcast short updates about their locations and activities over the Web or to their friends' cell phones, a concept called microblogging. The terms of the deal haven't been announced, but regardless of Jaiku's price tag, the purchase could be a significant one. Google has long been rumored to be working on a mobile phone, or "gPhone"; Jaiku was originally developed as software for cell phones, and one of the company's cofounders, Jyri Engeström, was a product manager at Nokia.
While Google has refused to comment directly on whether it's developing mobile-phone products, its activities over the past few months indicate that it is. Google has announced its intention to bid on a large swath of spectrum in early 2008; it has acquired a mobile-phone software startup, Android, based in Palo Alto, CA; and in a handful of public statements, representatives of the company have alluded to trying to make the mobile experience better. When asked for comment, Google referred to its public statement about the purchase: "Although we don't have definite plans to announce at this time, we're excited about helping to drive the next round of developments in Web and mobile technology."
Jaiku's acquisition also signals that microblogging, a pastime popularized by a service called Twitter, is more than just a passing fad. (See "Is Twitter Here to Stay?") Jaiku, Twitter, Pownce, Plazes, and Facebook all let people send updates to their friends (and the rest of the world, if they so desire) about what they are doing and where they are. The services differ slightly, but the idea is the same: to give friends, family, and even interested strangers a simple way to stay involved in your life. Jaiku and Twitter are the most similar of the pack. Jaiku doesn't have as many users as Twitter, the largest of the services, but it does offer some extra features, including downloadable software for the Nokia S60 phone. With the software, the user can revise his or her Jaiku profile from the phone, or browse the phone's contact list to select people to receive microblog updates.
Biz Stone, cofounder of Twitter, says that Jaiku's expertise in the mobile-messaging space could benefit Google: "Those guys have a keen grasp of mobile, and it's probably a good fit for whatever Google's cooking up." Stone refuses to comment on whether or not Google approached Twitter for purchase. In July, Twitter received about $5 million in funding, much of which will go toward streamlining operations and expanding the company's infrastructure as the number of users grows.
Google isn't disclosing plans for Jaiku at this point, but some experts are speculating that the acquisition could help the startup gain visibility and expand without too many technical glitches, as the search company is adept at handling technology on a large scale. But Stone says that the acquisition could be more about "a strategic scooping up of talented people" for other projects.
While Google's purchase of Jaiku could be seen as a threat to Twitter, Stone says that he's not worried about the competition. "Any kind of movement, whether it be a new company inspired by Twitter, or one being acquired by a larger company, feels like this forward movement in this space," he says. "It signals that this [microblogging] is much bigger than we'd initially planned."
Jaiku will still serve its existing users, and these users may invite new friends, but new-user registration was closed after the acquisition. In the coming months, Google plans to launch new products based on Jaiku's technology. According to a statement on Jaiku's website, Jaiku users will be among the first to try them out.