Google Buys Jaiku

    October 9, 2007

Less than two weeks after Google acquired Zingku, a mobile social network, they announce that Google has acquired Jaiku.Google and Jaiku = gooku(two)

The name isn’t the only similarity between the two recent purchases. Like Zingku, Jaiku is designed to appeal to mobile users. As Jaiku states in the acquisition FAQ:

Jaiku is an activity stream and presence sharing service that works from the Web and mobile phones. Jaiku, Ltd. was founded in February, 2006 by Jyri Engeström and Petteri Koponen from Finland. The service was released on the Web in July 2006. Jaiku is based in Helsinki.

Oh. It’s like Twitter, then? Your Jaiku activity stream can include text messages, photos, events, recommendation, etc. So perhaps it’s Facebook+Twitter? (In case you’re wondering, Jyri is pronounced a little like “Yuri,” with the ‘r’ rolled. Except we don’t have the Finnish vowel ‘y’ in English. Well, rather than launch into a Finnish linguistics lesson, let’s focus, shall we?)

As with most Google acquisitions, they’re not disclosing specific plans for the future, saying only that “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.” Also becoming par-for-the-course in new acquisitions—Google has limited current sign ups. (You can audition try here, though.)

Unlike now-older-sibling Zingku, however, Jaiku doesn’t seem to have built-in merchant appeal. Perhaps Jaiku is destined to partner more with Blogger than AdWords.