We recently wrote about Jaiku losing users and subsequently got strong response from the Jaiku community telling us differently. Partly the reason why some users (link in Finnish) have moved to Twitter was Jaiku's feature pack was seriously couching: feeds not coming through and SMS messages were disabled.
Soon after Jaiku community stood up for their service the Jaiku team also woke up and already the next day feeds were back up, even if still a bit slow, and today SMS was also reactivated. The community effectively made itself heard and it worked at least to some extent.
There's also new feature's coming for example regarding the API that supports OAuth, but the gravest of the concerns' has yet to be answered by the Jaiku team, namely when are we going to see these changes happen and especially where is the service going.
Jyri Engeström commented in Jaikido blog way back in August when Jaiku was being ported to Google App Engine, "We appreciate your patience and can’t wait to open up Jaiku to everyone", but is Google's corporate wheel too slow to turn and is Google's silence policy regarding it's products development slowly pushing the Jaiku community's patience one step too far?
The same Jaikido blog entry talks about how 3rd party developers will have greater control over the system and can write applications that provide richer features to their users. This clearly shows that there are plans for the future. One could even speculate that Google has all along had a clear plan on what they are going to do with Jaiku. As Antti Akonniemi speculates, " Jaiku’s location based and phone profile features pre-installed on Google phones could change everything."
Now, if one wants to see this happening one easily could: Petteri Koponen has been working especifically on Android in Google's London office, while Jyri Engeström is in Mountainview working on Google's strategy for the social web. Has Google just waited until Android is ready to ramp up Jaiku development? Then again, last April Teemu Kurppa told (In Finnish) the Finnish crowd that Jaiku was being developed on the Google's infamous "20% time". Google would hardly make developers develop the corner stone of it's mobile strategy on their 'extra 20%'. Or would it? Jyri's silence despite the lively conversation and many requests regarding an update on what's happening could indicate that something's up.
This is not a new idea, but could the time start to be ripe for the launch as Jaiku's porting to Google App Engine is nearly finished which allows a rapid uptake of new users, and as Android is fully functioning and just starting to go after market share?
Edit 17.12.2008 at 3.36pm: Jyri Engeström posted today a new blog post in his blog where he carefully tells us about the future of Jaiku. Among other updates he says that "I regard the Jaiku community as friends, and your concern about the future of the service is legitimate. It warrants a response."
To indicate what is to come, he goes on by saying that they "[...]plan to open up its development to the user community more in the future." and that "People should be able to post and follow status updates across servers just like they send email. No single service, no matter how large and powerful, is the platform. The Web is the platform."
The best indication on what's to come is at the end of the blog post. I quote: "In spite of the decision to not throw resources at building Jaiku into an independent Web brand, recall that the acquisition announcement stated that 'Activity streams and mobile presence are important areas where we believe Google can add a lot of value for users.' Of course this statement still holds true, and you can bet your Android that there are completely new Wow!'s in store."
At ArcticStartup we believe that we will soon see something that involves Jaiku's microblogging model, Android and the Open Stack nicely mixed into a working solution for those handset manufacturers that decide to take upon Google's open offer.