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Google acquires Twitter rival

Appeals to your vanity

Google has acquired Jaiku, a Finnish company that lets you bombard your closest friends with an endless stream of self-serving mini-messages. Think of it as Twitter with a different but equally-annoying name.

"Technology has made staying in touch with your friends and family both easier and harder: living a fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyle is easier (and a lot of fun), but it's more difficult to keep track of everyone when they're running around at warp speed," wrote Google product manager Tony Hsieh on the company's official blog. "That's why we're excited to announce that we've acquired Jaiku, a company that's been hard at work developing useful and innovative applications for staying in touch with the people you care about most - regardless of whether you're at a computer or on a mobile phone."

Company co-founders Jyri Engeström and Petteri Koponen refer to Jaiku as "an activity stream and presence sharing service." In Twitter-like fashion, it lets you promote yourself and your whereabouts with round-the-clock regularity. Some people call it micro-blogging. Others call it micro-bogging.

Neither company is commenting on Google's specific plans for the service, other than to say things like "We plan to use the ideas and technology behind Jaiku to make compelling and useful products". And: "We're excited about helping drive the next round of developments in web and mobile technology."

Whatever Google's doing, the service is now closed to new users. If you're not already on the service, the best you can do is sign up to receive an invitation when Google is "ready to expand". Meanwhile, current users are free to continue their solipsistic ways. ®

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