As we mentioned last April, we are in the process of porting Jaiku over to Google App Engine. After the migration is complete, we will release the new open source Jaiku Engine project on Google Code under the Apache License. While Google will no longer actively develop the Jaiku codebase, the service itself will live on thanks to a dedicated and passionate volunteer team of Googlers.
With the open source Jaiku Engine project, organizations, groups and individuals will be able to roll-their-own microblogging services and deploy them on Google App Engine. The new Jaiku Engine will include support for OAuth, and we’re excited about developers using this proven code as a starting point in creating a freely available and federated, open source microblogging platform.
Opening Jaiku up to the open source community sounds like a great idea with all those developers potentially out there, waiting for something to do and jumping on Jaiku as their microblogging project of choice. The reality may be very different with other microblogging platforms already available, including the open source Laconica platform which has its principle expression in Identi.ca. I saw a mention on Twitter that locating Jaiku on Google’s App Engine is a limiting factor compared to a more federated model. I don’t know much about that and hopefully someone can weigh in on that in the comments below.
I have been a Jaiku fan for a while now and I have maintained the hope that Jaiku would beat Twitter at the game Jaiku started. Instead Jaiku has languished, especially since Google acquired it. I also hoped that we would see Jaiku become the contacts interface on Android and yet when the G1 phone was released there was no mention of Jaiku anywhere. In fact, the mobile Jaiku app remains a Series 60 application. There is, of course, a mobile site that other devices can access but it isn’t quite the same as a native application.
Mashable has an interesting perspective on the announcement which may appeal to enterprise microblogging users:
In other words, it sounds like Google is working on a competitor to the host of enterprise-focused microblogging tools that have sprung up in the wake of Twitter’s success, or at least a service that will lure some paying users to Google App Engine. Open sourcing the code is especially interesting, as it means developers will be able to use the core of Jaiku to work on their own unique microblogging tools and offer them to either consumers or business users.
That does make sense and Jaiku’s channels are a pretty good model for an effective enterprise microblogging solution with threaded comments and a nice clean layout.
We will have to see if Jaiku thrives as an open source application/service or if it fades into the background. I am really disappointed that more wasn’t done to develop it further. It had/has (?) the potential to leave other services behind and my sense it that it just needed more focus and resources to achieve that. It may not have caught up with Twitter but it could have been a pretty close second.