On Wednesday we posted on the Google Code Blog that:

As we mentioned last April, we are in the process of porting Jaiku over to Google App Engine. After the migration is complete, we will release the new open source Jaiku Engine project on Google Code under the Apache License. While Google will no longer actively develop the Jaiku codebase, the service itself will live on thanks to a dedicated and passionate volunteer team of Googlers.

With the open source Jaiku Engine project, organizations, groups and individuals will be able to roll-their-own microblogging services and deploy them on Google App Engine. The new Jaiku Engine will include support for OAuth, and we’re excited about developers using this proven code as a starting point in creating a freely available and federated, open source microblogging platform.

Understandably, some people took this to mean that Jaiku was going away entirely.  This impression was exacerbated somewhat by a blogger reporting early that Jaiku was being closed alongside some other products.

The reality is a bit more nuanced, but it is significantly more interesting in my opinion.  First, the jaiku.com domain and the Jaiku user accounts (and their friend graph and their messages) continue to live on just as they have today.  The biggest difference is that behind the scenes Jaiku is moving away from its original proprietary hosting model and on to App Engine.

Personally I love this for several reasons — it is a tremendous validation of the power of the App Engine platform, and another great learning opportunity for the engineers here to work with a very real service.

But the second, and perhaps even bigger news, is that all of the code used to power Jaiku on App Engine is going to be released under the Apache license.  Combine these two changes — Jaiku on App Engine, and open source Jaiku — and you can start see the opportunity that emerges here.

Soon, anyone, for free and with little effort, will be able to install and modify the Jaiku code, launch it on App Engine, and run their own microblogging platform.  Combine that decentralization with standards such as OAuth and the forthcoming activity stream standards, and what we’re seeing here is the accelerating trend away from microblogging being a destination to microblogging being a pervasive and ubiquitous part of the fabric of the web itself.

Now that’s cool.

Will Google have a team of 20 working on Jaiku?  No, and we’re not going to sugar coat it, which is exactly why we posted such an honest an open
letter about the future of the product.  Are there many of us who passionately care about Jaiku and about the possibilities of microblogging?  Absolutely.  And we want you to participate.

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aileen
January 17th, 2009 at 1:00 am (#)

i was wondering about the story behind the scenes (blog post). thanks for the insight! this is indeed very cool and exciting where jaiku’s headed. congrats!

Todd
January 17th, 2009 at 2:26 am (#)

I think its awesome that Jaiku is becoming a decentralized, roll-your-own, but what percentage of the current user base will have the time, inclination to do so? I am not being disparaging, just pragmatic.
When comparing Twitter to Identi.ca, what’s the adoption ratio? 100,000 to 1?
What happens to the current Jaiku users ( and their data ) who don’t want to build their own on App Engine?

Tina
January 17th, 2009 at 3:08 am (#)

@Todd: It doesn’t take a huge percentage of a user base to take advantage of something like this. Jaiku is widely-adopted enough (and there are enough people complaining “why can’t Twitter be more like Jaiku”) that I suspect the requisite amount of eager developers is likely to be found.

Juha Makkonen
January 17th, 2009 at 3:49 am (#)

It has a lot to go, if it were to become “Mediawiki” of microblogging platforms. But it’s possible.
APIs, plugins and some form of continual development would do the trick. Along with good documentation, which would help e.g. in open source translation projects to other languages.

Nikke
January 17th, 2009 at 4:00 am (#)

Hi Juri, how come Jaiku has decided to mark you as a spammer right now? It looks wierd since I can read all comments on your personal page but not in other people’s threads on Jaiku.
(Please feel free to delete this comment in the blog post since it doesn’t really have anyting to do with what you posted above.)

Daniel Schilldt
January 17th, 2009 at 11:33 am (#)

Thanks for sharing more information. It’s apparent that there is need for open standards and I’m happy to hear that Jaiku will release source code for creating services. Still, it’s sad to hear that Google didn’t have so large interest in Jaiku. Even then, things might prove that making Jaiku available as Open Source could make it have more affect than what could have been even thought before.
All good for you and others who volunteer their time for the benefict of community and communication.

andy
January 17th, 2009 at 12:48 pm (#)

Thanks for the post.
I’m pretty ignorant about Google App Engine.
What does “able to launch it on Google App Engine” mean? Can people not run it somewhere else just because the code isn’t set up that way, or because of licensing stuff? (Probably the former, given the new license that will exist, right?)

Igor Faletski
January 17th, 2009 at 1:34 pm (#)

AppEngine is great, but can we get some really really cool Android integration?
You know, one thing the iPhone does very poorly is its contact list management following an import from GMail. It’s a mess.
Instead, Jaiku could introduce the concept of “following” a person to billions of people comfortable with texting, as Android becomes adopted by a variety of handset manufacturers…

funkyboy
January 17th, 2009 at 3:58 pm (#)

any plans to enrich the API?

Jyri Engestrom
January 17th, 2009 at 10:30 pm (#)

@funkyboy we’ve added OAuth and other improvements. More details in the docs once we open the project on code.google.com

Hossam
January 18th, 2009 at 6:01 am (#)

Jaiku users in Egypt, including myself, have not been receiving any more updates on our mobile phones for roughly a week. Is that gonna be fixed anytime soon?

Thejesh GN
January 18th, 2009 at 6:24 am (#)

happy to know jaiku will continue to live.

Ville Säävuori
January 18th, 2009 at 7:11 am (#)

This is exciting news!
I have one question, though.
Will the Jaiku S60 client be open sourced as well and will it continue to work with the GAE version of Jaiku?

S. Neil Vineberg
January 18th, 2009 at 2:56 pm (#)

Great post and thanks for clarifying the erroneous stories.

Jyri Engestrom
January 18th, 2009 at 5:25 pm (#)

@Hossam our volume of outgoing SMS started going through the roof, and we’ve implemented daily and monthly caps per user and had to cut off service to Indonesia (previously we had to do this to Italy) due to abuse. We’re not planning to lift the caps at the moment.
@Ville Säävuori we’re currently evaluating the possibility to open source the S60 client code. When we release the Jaiku code base, we’ll also address this question.

satoshi yamawaki
January 18th, 2009 at 8:40 pm (#)

Jaiku goes OpenSource?
That must be exciting!
Since Google merged Jaiku, this is the best news for us.

satoshi yamawaki
January 18th, 2009 at 8:42 pm (#)

Jaiku goes OpenSource?
That must be exciting!
Since Google merged Jaiku, this is the best news for us.

Ted Rheingold
January 19th, 2009 at 12:57 am (#)

Big congrats you and team! Very exciting news indeed. May a thousand micro-platforms bloom =D

Jonas
January 19th, 2009 at 3:08 am (#)

Thanks for clearing things up, I read this between the lines of the earlier posts but clear words feels nice. I do think you should Open Source S60 client aswell, would be nice with a community approach for wifi-support, fixing some bugs and fun un/useful development.

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