We knew it was coming; we just didn’t know when. Google yesterday announced that it is releasing its Jaiku code under the open source Apache license 2.0 after finalizing the move of the micro-blogging service to Google App Engine last week.
As we mentioned two months ago, Google will no longer be developing the Jaiku codebase, but Google volunteers will be available to offer support.
When Google acquired the Twitter-like service in 2007, many of us had high hopes for Jaiku’s future until Google almost immediately closed it to the public offering little explanation. Last August, we wondered whether we were watching Jaiku’s rebirth when it returned with unlimited invites, and now finally, we can stop the speculation as JaikuEngine is handed over to the open source community.
According to a post on the Jaikido blog last week, “JaikuEngine differs from Jaiku in a few key ways. Although core features like the website, SMS (in the US only) and IM bot still work, feed fetching and international SMS are no longer available.”
Google points out that the problem with feed fetching is not specific to Jaiku and all real-time communication services face challenges maintaining freshness when using poll-based systems. As for the international SMS scaling issues, Google explains that the issues were more financial than technical and suggests using IM on “capable mobile devices.”
The new JaikuEngine will also include support for OAuth, the open standard authentication protocol that Twitter recently began experimenting with in an effort to give users more control and confidence in their interactions with third-party applications.
It will be interesting to see what the next few months bring.
Jyri Engeström, co-founder of Jaiku and now a product manager at Google, said that he agrees with Dave Winer that it’s time to break out of Twitter. “There should be lots of platforms, and they should talk to each other. Jaiku doesn’t do that yet, but now there’s a decent chance that it soon will,” he wrote on his blog today.
Here at ReadWriteWeb, we are great fans of Twitter. And certainly, it holds the market share when it comes to micro-blogging services. But, we’d love to know what you think. Will JaikuEngine inspire developers enough to give Twitter a run for its money or will the service again slowly wither away? Let us know in the comments.
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