In a surprise move yesterday, Jaiku was acquired by Google. Jaiku, if you haven't heard, is a microblogging & mobile presence platform similar to Twitter.
There has been much speculation about why, given their essentially unlimited budget, Google chose Jaiku over the more popular Twitter. The reason is that Google is interested in the technology, not the users. Google already has billions of users and Jaiku is technologically far more advanced than Twitter. For example it features:
Aggregate RSS feeds from other sites (e.g. Flickr, Delicious, Last.fm, your blog... even Twitter!)
The ability to comment on any item in your friends' feeds. This avoids the mess that Twitter conversations can become.
A sleek interface which is, if anything, easier to use than Twitter's
Google already has a mine of social data in the form of the Gmail address book. They used this in a small way when implementing Google Talk but it's looking very likely they will be announcing something big in a few weeks. Something that may give Facebook a thing or two to think about.
I saw Jyri Engeström at Future of Web Apps last week. He seemed quite calm but I bet he was just bursting to shout about all this! Read more at Techcrunch, New York Times, Mashable and the official announcements from Google and Jaiku.