This morning I've been exploring the Jaiku service. Jaiku is a combination of a social web service and a mobile phone application that takes the personal status and presence ideas of Twitter quite a bit further. The idea is to combine data from various services to provide a presence feed that can be shared with friends and colleagues.
For me Jaiku is about:
- Silent sociality - checking up on what my friends are up to when convenient, and posting my own state knowing that I won't be disturbing others (unless they have explicitly asked to be alerted).
- Small-group sociality - Jaiku is not about celebrity. I'm interested in sharing state with a small group I'm nearly always in contact with, what Mimi Ito has called full-time intimate community.
- Mobile sociality - Jaiku was designed with the mobile "living phonebook" interface in mind. SMS alerts crowding the inbox of one of the few working personal and functional communication channels is not my idea of improving communication. I use the SMS-in posting to Jaiku when I'm using my Nokia 8800 and with my N70 I use the Jaiku phonebook.
- Background sociality - Jaiku allows me to integrate other online identities and feeds (including delicious, flickr and any RSS) into my single jaiku presence feed. This is done in a way that doesn't confuse these background posts with my explicit state messages.
My website is already doing much of that, combining my blog posts, Twitter status messages, Plazes locations and Flickr pictures to a central place. However, not everybody can set up a Midgard site for personal information management, and so a web service is definitely useful.
In addition to regular presence and feed aggregation, Jaiku does a lot of innovative things. The mobile phone application uses Bluetooth personal area network to display information about nearby users, and apparently can also use the phone's calendar to set status automatically. This is very smart use of context, and something I hope mobile applications would start doing more.
Jaiku can utilize geographical location of users, but I'd love to see integration with the Plazes network and/or pulling of the location information from my GeoRSS feed. Jaiku already is smart enough to pull my social network from Google Talk contacts, so there is hope that they will be smart enough to also reuse existing position information.