updated 01:25 pm EDT, Tue October 9, 2007
Google Buys Jaiku
Google today announced that it had bought Jaiku, a popular updating service similar to Twitter that lets users send and receive short text, photo, and web link updates either from their computer or through a mobile device like a smartphone. The deal has been closed for a secret amount but is said to bring the Finnish startup into Google's lineup because the latter considers live streams of user activity and mobile presence "important," according to the Jaiku team. New registrations for the still beta-stage service have been temporarily shut down to control the flow of new members while Jaiku integrates, though Jaiku notes its service will still accept additional members through invitations.
No mention was made of exact plans, though both Google and Jaiku said they would "expand" the service over the next few months as part of the transaction, prompting speculation about future projects. The search engine giant is generally accepted to be developing a mobile phone OS that would integrate many of Google's web applications into a Linux-based interface and which could use Jaiku's own technology, which currently supports mobile phones through a Java widget as well as a native program for Symbian phones like Nokia's Nseries devices.
The deal could also have repercussions for Apple, LG, and other cellphone manufacturers who use Google applications throughout their most recent devices and which may be encouraged to use Jaiku services in future software updates. While Google has not always promoted technology from acquired companies, the firm is perhaps best known by many for its buyout of YouTube, which resulted in the video streaming site's accessibility through the iPhone and several other handsets available worldwide.