Mashable reported yesterday that Google had acquired the microblog service Jaiku and asked the obvious: Why not Twitter? (Robert Scoble says Google’s going to couple Jaiku with their social networking service, Orkut).
Microblogging services such as Jaiku, Twitter, and Pownce combine the publishing technology of blogs with the ability to update your microblog via a standard web interface, through your Instant Messaging client, or from your phone using text messaging. Each post is limited to 140 characters–the size limit of text messages; thus the term microblogging.
Mashable said: "This is somewhat surprising news considering the perceived dominance of
Twitter in the so-called â€œlifestreamingâ€ space. Additionally, Twitter
is co-founded by Evan Williams, who was the creator of Blogger, which
was previously acquired by Google. In a world where price is no object
for Google, itâ€™s interesting that they would opt for Jaiku and not
One reason may simply be feature sets: Pownce allows you to share files and events through your Pownce blog while Jaiku lets your plug in your own RSS feeds so you can automatically update your Jaiku blog with other online content and the service allows you to create communities of interest. Twitter offers none of these features.
I wonder, though, if Google’s preference for Jaiku over Twitter points to something fundamentally fatal about Twitter itself.
I love Twitter and I use it all the time but the service has had some well-documented scaling problems. Anyone who has used Twitter for a moderate amount of time has run into the cat or bird error notice when trying to perform some routine function.
I myself am a victim of Twitter’s technical snafus. I haven’t been able to post to my Twitter account for about three months and my pleas to Twitter about it have been either ignored or unheard.
You’d think that scaling issues wouldn’t be obstacle to overcome, considering the resources Google could bring to bear to fix any technical problems. But then when you look back at how long Twitter has been having these problems, you gotta wonder if their technical problems are so deep that Google trying to fix them wasn’t worth the effort.
Regardless, with the resources that Google will no doubt invest in Jaiku, Twitter has got to be worried.
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