Google Buys Messaging Vendor Jaiku


Google has acquired mobile messaging developer Jaiku, but it's keeping its plans for the Helsinki, Finland-based company hush-hush.

Jaiku allows users to create an "activity stream" to share their availability, location and calendar. The customizable portal allows users to add Web feeds and share comments with others. First available on PCs, the company now offers a version for cell phones as well. The company was founded in February 2006 by Jyri Engestrm and Petteri Koponen.

On its corporate media blog, Google said, "We plan to use the ideas and technology behind Jaiku to make compelling and useful products. Although we don't have definite plans to announce at this time, we're excited about helping drive the next round of developments in web and mobile technology"

It added that Jaiku is "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."

Google reportedly has spent the last two years working on a mobile phone strategy that could be announced by the end of the year. It's possible that Jaiku will fit into that strategy. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Current Jaiku users can still use the service normally but Google has temporarily suspended new accounts until "we're ready to expand," according to Google's blog.

On a Q&A on Jaiku's Web site, http://jaiku.com/help/google, Engestrm and Koponen offer only this explanation for why Google bought Jaiku: "Activity streams and mobile presence are important areas where we believe Google can add a lot of value for users. Jaiku's technology and talented team are a great addition to Google's current application and mobile teams."

Google shares were trading at $623.42 in afternoon trading, up $8.23 per share or 1.3 percent.