Jaiku – First Impressions

As you can tell from this morning’s post, I received a Jaiku invite.

Jaiku is a Twitter like service that was acquired by Google in October of 2007.  I was interested in trying out Jaiku for several reasons:

  1. I want to try all the Twitter like services to see how they all compare to each other, this includes finding where one might be better than the other
  2. I’m a Google-holic.  I like Google and Google products a lot.  I work with my radio co-hosts in Google Docs, use Gmail, Google Notebook, and my wife and I talk on our cell phones using Google Talk.  Google will probably integrate several of these various products they have acquired over the last several months and it might be good to keep everything in one place rather than spread around multiple web sites and logins.

What I Like About Jaiku

So, my first general impressions on Jaiku are good.  I think the service is on the right track.  It is pretty much a copy of Twitter with a couple of features that I think I will enjoy greatly.  The first seems to be the ability to attach RSS feeds to your “presence” (what Jaiku calls your “time line”).  So as the RSS feed gets updated, it posts to your Jaiku feed in a nice user friendly, easily readable manner.  This means you can add your Twitter’s user feed to have it update your Jaiku.

The second is rather small but I think adds a small personal touch and that would be the ability to “icon” a post.  So you can attach a related icon to the post.  For instance if you got hurt, and you post something like “Fell down doing a gnarly move on my board” you can attach the “Band-Aid” icon.  Great way to give a visual representation to your posts.  However, I understand that this is small and not really a “feature” but I thought it was something nifty.

Something that Jaiku has that Pownce probably took from them is the “Channels” functionality.  Essentially you can create a channel, and people can join it.  Then you can send updates to a specific channel to update all those that are a part of the channel.  A great way to separate groups and update types.

What I See Missing From Jaiku

The first thing I notice missing is a way to search your address book on your Yahoo! or Gmail accounts, allowing you to easily find friends who might already have the service.  Instead you have to search by name and groups.  Not a great way to find people.

Also the fact that the service changed into an invite only service when Google acquired it, makes it hard to get people onto the service more quickly.  So the growth seems to be stagnated due to the lack of accessibility.  This however, will probably be fixed within the next 6 months or so (just a guess).

Overall

I think Jaiku is well on its way to being a nice Twitter competitor.  It seems to handle some of the features people wish Pownce did, or at least did better.  I wish there was more recent information on the service though as the company’s blog has not been updated since the Google acquisition in October.  It would be nice to know what is in the works and when we can expect changes (if any are forth coming).

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