It is not new that Google bought Jaiku.com, a Finnish microblogging and mini messaging service. I could a have said “Jaiku is a quasi Twitter site”, but the problem is that in Europe nobody knows Twitter (kind of).
With Jaiku you can create an activity stream log with messages and pictures and post it directly to Jaiku. These streams can be shared through the web, instant messager, SMS and third-party applications. It seems that Jaiku is very strong in the mobile field, providing a “live phonebook” that displays the activity streams, locations of contacts (HOT) and availability. I wanted to sign up for an account and install the mobile version but it seems that they close the registration since Google acquisition. Sad.
But right now I am more interested in the Jaiku web design. Last weekend I was at the BarCamp Munich, there a discussion around Twitter was hold. My impression was that in Europe people don’t know what they can do with Twitter, and after the explanation a lot of scepticism was heard. It is true that this kind of service is limited in European countries by the price of SMSs, much more expensive than in the US. But another thing must be said, Twitter home page does not explain very well what that site is for. In this sense, Jaiku is clearly doing it much better:
Jaiku is placing the explanation in the home page, click on it and you are redirected to the welcome tour, which is clear enough. I have to confess that I have critics regarding the usability, I would change a few things here, for example they try to explain the service to newcomers with a phrase like “Post new Jaikus”. What the hell is a “Jaiku”? (OK, I can imagine what that is, but it might not be clear enough for many users).
From my point of view Google has made another good move as Jaiku seems to have a much more clear interface and, maybe, better chances to win European hearts. I would really like to test it!