Google hasn’t closed Jaiku: they opened it — as in OpenSource

Many commenters have so much to say about how Google should have bought Twitter. The thing is, Twitter, or micro-blogging in general, is like macro-blogging, or RSS: it’s better opened, like a publicly available format for everyone to hack — as in, letting users refer to posts or users from a different service.  Imagine WordPress blog could not cite, comment, quotes posts from Blogger.  You might have needed a distinct account to comment until OpenID, but you still could include your blog URL in your signature.  The character limit is interesting, but the success of Twitter over Jaiku is simply a decision by Biz and Ev not to let Google’s Jaiku milk from their success.  Too bad, because, like for blog readers, micro-blogging clients have loads of features one should tweak.  Can you do what you want so far? With a rich variety of Twitter clients, you pretty much can so far — but don’t be fooled, while a Twitter monopoly makes sense, there is still another situation that we might reach soon, and from where you can’t get away: open-source and distributed micro-blogging.  More then paying through the nose for both an easy-to-replicate code base and a hard-to-get-away-from crowd, Google went for the longer term solution and both gives away hosting and opened source the code for any wanabee micro-blogging mogul.

I don’t understand why nobody noticed how important that move could have been: any disgrunted Twitter user can now get on the list of alternatives to Twitter. ‘Could,’ because like all things social, it will only makes sense if enough significant people do. ‘Could’ because unless someone finds anything missing from Twitter, why not use the free, nice, well-known, now-working solution? Any feature request (and I know plenty, from combined user-list and keyword- based filtering, to semantic understanding).

Google didn’t buy Twitter for the same reason that they haven’t bought the Web or Netscape: because neither it is for sale, nor it is cheap, nor it is necessary to make a decent business model out of it, nor should it be kept proprietary, nor Google’s interest is to have anything but vibrant competition in associated sectors.

Next up: my class, some news about my career, and maybe some explanation on how to define “associated sectors”.


About Bertil

I'm a PhD student in Digital Economics, and I love viennoiserie. Je suis un doctorant en économie (numérique) et j'aime la viennoiserie.
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