Last week, Robert Scoble asked the question of “Why is Jaiku not discussed as a competitor to Twitter” over on FriendFeed. This started an rather large discussion about why FriendFeed is better than Jaiku.
Lets start with the basics, because many people might now know what Jaiku is. Jaiku is a combination microblog and life streaming service that was purchased by Google and is currently invite only. The thing is, Jaiku’s lifestreaming feature was similar to FriendFeed but was around before FriendFeed. I will say that FriendFeed definitely implemented the lifestreaming idea better than Jaiku.
So to answer Mr. Scoble’s question, the reason that Jaiku is not discussed as a Twitter competitor is primarily due to its invite only status. About 6 months ago, when I first got into the micro-blogging, I used Jaiku exclusively and they had their own set of downtime issues. However, these might get resolved with Jaiku moving the Google App Engine. However, the larger issue is that people can’t really use service because they need an invite to be a part of the conversations that take place there.
Robert Scoble is on record as stating that he will go where ever he can have interesting conversations so for him, a place that has a wall up on people’s ability to access the service, is not going to work so well for him. This is why he has embraced FriendFeed with feverish zeal.
My opinion? Jaiku had promise. With the advent of FriendFeed I’m not sure what they can offer in the way of lifestreaming. FriendFeed has really implemented this feature really well. Also, now that Twitter is really looking into their stability issues and taking them more seriously, Jaiku might become a needless service within the next 6 months. If Jaiku can finish their move to the Google App Engine and open up to let everyone sign up, they might have a chance at bring people over from Twitter (since it’s going to take them a while to fix their stability issues). However, convincing folks to move from Twitter to Jaiku is going to be difficult, even given Twitters issues.
Twitter’s problems have revolved around 2 things 1) stability and 2) lack of features. Well FriendFeed has pretty much solved both issues, though it is a different kind of service. People for some reason stick with Twitter regardless of its issues. With that in mind and the fact that FriendFeed has a solid lock on the lifestreaming concept, I think that Jaiku will die and dissappear into the ether of the internet. Of course, Google could have plans for it with regards to their mobile OS, Android but I’m not going to hold my breath.