It's been a little over a year since the Jaiku team and I joined Google.
My time has mainly been spent building infrastructure that makes it easier to share social objects on Google's Web and mobile services.
Some of the pieces of this infrastructure are really basic. For instance, I've worked with the team that built a profile page for Google users (mine is here). If you are using google.com in English, you can now access your profile by clicking on My Account.
For more on profiles, see Duncan Riley's recent post on TechCrunch.
Another piece of the puzzle has been to enable people to share social objects with the contacts in their address book. Gmail now lets you organize your contacts to Friends, Family, and Co-Workers. You can then share items on Google Reader with your Friends group. You will see these same groups in various Google products that let you share information with people. If you own a G1 phone you know those same contacts are also synced to the mobile phonebook.
I also helped Brad Fitzpatrick launch the Social Graph API. Although this API is not a visible product, it powers many services such as the suggested links on your Google profile. Collaborating with Brad has been one of my delights of the year, since I had wanted to work with him on the social graph problem already before either one of us joined Google.
Jaiku has been a 20% project, meaning it has been getting about one day a week of my time.
Over the last few days a conversation about the future of Jaiku has been taking place on blogs (relevant posts in English here, here, here, and here) and Jaiku (current active threads here, here, here). I regard the Jaiku community as friends, and your concern about the future of the service is legitimate. It warrants a response. What follows is my personal angle.
We announced this spring on the Jaiku blog that Jaiku will be ported to Google App Engine. Since the porting has not been a full time project, and development involves working on a still maturing new infrastructure as well as maintaining the legacy site, its velocity has not been as high as I had hoped. That said, we're on schedule and expecting to ship in the new year.
Google isn't staffing up Jaiku.com. But we love the product and plan to open up its development to the user community more in the future. I'm not ready to talk about the details yet, so stay tuned for more news about that in the new year on Jaiku.
This is a step in the direction we all want to go: away from the
tyranny of silos towards freely interoperable social
networks. 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.
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.
I hope that after reading this you, like me, are getting more and more tickled by what 2009 has to bring.
And now that Ulla and I are done having kids for a while, my new year's promise is to also return to blogging.