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Jaiku is Twitter on steroids March 4, 2007

Posted by Mads Foli Bjerre in : Mobile , 7 comments


For the last day or so I’ve been kicking the tires of the new Jaiku, and I must say it’s pretty impressive.

You have the status message you know from Twitter, but that’s not even half of it. You can comment directly on other peoples “jaikus” (that’s what they call your status updates), and the coolest thing is that you can add other feeds to be displayed in your Jaiku stream. So, if you have a blog, it will appear amidst your Jaiku messages when you update it with a new post. I’ve added my moblog to the feeds list. (I also tried to add this blog, but Jaiku told me it couldn’t find a feed :-/ I’ve contacted Jaiku about the bug). In addition, you can add your Last.fm feed, so that others can see what your listening to at the moment, your Flickr feed, your del.icio.us feed — even your Twitter feed! So when you update Twitter, Jaiku will automatically also be updated.

Both services has it’s pros and cons. The beautiful thing about Twitter is its simplicity and that it is text message based. Everybody can participate — no need to download anything to your phone. Also, Twitter is easily grokked. Send a text message to Twitter with what you’re doing, and you’re done. Other people subscribing to your updates will instantly get a text message with what you’re doing.

But not everyone wants their phone to beep every single time someone on your friends list updates their status. Of course, you could turn off updates, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of the service. Jaiku, on the other hand, is more like a presence service for mobile phones, and this makes Jaiku more discrete than Twitter. The Jaiku program on your phone mirrors your phone book and displays your Jaiku contacts appear on top of your contact list with their latest update is shown. This way, you’ll have a chance of knowing whether your friend is available before you call them. If your friends latest status message says “Visiting grandma in the hospital”, and his update was less than an hour ago, it would probably be a good idea to postpone your call for a while. The subtle thing about this is you don’t get beeps every other minute if you have many friends on Jaiku like you would on Twitter. You’ll have to check their status yourself, which is a key difference between Twitter and Jaiku. One thing that would rock, though, would be the ability to make the Jaiku software notify you if any of your contacts status messages changed. This way, users could have it both ways: Beeping updates like Twitter, or subtle presence updates when you need them.

Other things that propels Jaiku ahead of Twitter are the ability to:

The barrier of entry is a bit higher with Jaiku than Twitter. I could never get my mom or dad to install Jaiku on their phones and learn how to use it. Twitter, on the other hand, would be easy for them, as all they’d have to do to update the service is send a text message, which comes right after voice call on the easiest-things-to-do-on-your-mobile list.

Anyway, to understand the power of Jaiku you’ll have to try it out for yourself. I’m madsb on Jaiku, if you want to add me.