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.