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November 19, 2007

Jaiku, Android and Google's Mobile Ads

Last month when Google bought Jaiku, people wondered why Google preferred the micro-blogging service to Twitter, which is much more popular. Jonathan Mulholland thinks that the answer lies in Jaiku's unique ability to combine micro-blogging with user's location.

"An integral part of the service is a client application for Symbian S60 platform mobile phones. The client uses location APIs within S60 devices to triangulate the handset (and the users) location based on nearby cellular network towers. The Jaiku client was in fact originally conceived as a 'status aware address book', and as such integrates into compatible S60 phones to the extent that it also shares the phones (and again the users) status availability ( - General, In Meeting, Outdoor etc)."

Because his mobile phone is able to broadcast the location automatically (even if it's not very precise), the user posts more than a message. The text can be connected to his location and create a list of preferences for each place you frequently visit.

"Google + Jaiku is not a million miles away from being able to push appropriate advertising to individuals based on their profile, their location and their availability. Imagine walking down the high street and having your mobile phone pop up with a Google notification telling you that Heroes DVD box sets were 20% off at HMV today, or that a new Indian restaurant had just opened in that part of town. (...) It seems obvious that Jaiku is destined to become an integral part of the Android platform over the next year," thinks Jonathan Mulholland.

Android includes an API for location-based services that allows "software to obtain the phone's current location. This includes location obtained from the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite constellation, but it's not limited to that."

Google already offers local targeting for ads, but this could be much more useful when you're using a mobile phone. And if the ads are truly relevant and unintrusive (maybe as a part of a more complex service of local recommendations), people might actually like them.


  1. I wouldnt call "unique" a feature which is a public S60 API.

  2. Thanks for the quote & link. I think following Google's move towards mobile represents a fascinating next step in the companies strategic plan.

    @anonymous - your right to say the the S60 API is publicly available, however Jaiku's use of it is at the momment I believe unique. Are there other similar services out there?

  3. Zingku is another acquisition that will help make this possible. I wrote about this possibility last month. Check it out and let me know what you think.


  4. Indeed that touted feature of Jaiku isn't much of a big deal - also check MobiLuck and even a Romanian product, MTS.

  5. "...Imagine walking down the high street and having your mobile phone pop up with a Google notification telling you that Heroes DVD box sets were 20% off at HMV today, or that a new Indian restaurant had just opened in that part of town."

    Am I the only one who is horrified by this scenario? Isn't the mountain of spam in my mailbox enough, now you're telling me that my phone is going to be going off constantly demanding that I read the latest ad?? I can see me snatching my phone out of my pocket at some point and throwing it as far as I can!

  6. @ Anonymous: You must keep in mind that Android is free - and the "price" are these ads. If you don't want them, just don't use Google's OS.
    I mean I'm like you not very happy thinking of this scenario.
    But we have the choice.

  7. Thanks everyone for the feedback and comments.

    It's interesting to learn of other location aware services Zingku, MobiLuck etc. I do think that it's this concept of location awareness that has led Google to Jaiku.

    @Anonymous (2). I'm sure your not alone in finding these scenarios concerning. In fact I think that asking users to accept this relationship may represent a bigger challenge than the technological barriers. I would imagine the aim will be to ensure that ads are so relevent that there no longer thought of as 'ads' and instead they become useful information; you can see this is the aim currently with ads in Gmail.

  8. Just to follow on, one common comment I received on this post, was just how would Google build up the Jaiku user base in order for the service to compete with Twitter.

    If you're interested I've now expanded on my thoughts on Google/Jaiku can do this, with a little help from Google Android:


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