Jaiku was a Finnish microblogging social network similar to Twitter. It allowed users to post short messages, or “jaikus”, sharing their thoughts and opinions on all kinds of subjects. You could make the posts private, thus sharing them just with your friends, or public and visible to all users.
The service was founded by Jyri Engeström and Petteri Koponen in February 2006, a month before Twitter, and was released in July the same year. Google acquired it in October 2007.
When Google decided to shut down Jaiku in 2012, they didn’t provide a specific reason – just ensured users they would be helped with getting their data. However, it can be easily inferred what led to the decision.
After the acquisition in 2007, everyone expected that Google would seek to integrate the tool with their other services – calendar, inbox, messaging app, and blog hosting. Instead, they seemed to leave the app to fend for itself.
In the months following the acquisition, users encountered multiple issues. The site was often down or slow to load. It took hours for the information to sync, and third-party applications had troubles working with the site as well. All of this led to many existing users migrating to Twitter. The fact that new users couldn’t join for a while without an invitation from Google didn’t help matters.
Google’s attitude towards the tool didn’t improve much in the following years, and Jaiku never got any new features. Neither did it gain all that much traction, especially compared to the then newly released Google+. The following shut-down was only to be expected.