Google house cleaning frees Jaiku
Google has decided to clean house and close many services that are either redundant, not very successful or unrelated to Google's core business. Most significantly for the open source community Google plans to release the Jaiku Engine as an Apache licensed project.
Google had announced last April, that they were in the process of porting Jaiku over to Google App Engine. Once the migration is complete, they plan to release the new open source Jaiku Engine project on Google Code. Although Google itself will no longer actively develop the Jaiku codebase, the service itself is expected to live on in the hands of a dedicated and passionate volunteer team of Googlers.
With the open source Jaiku Engine project, organisations, groups and individuals will be able to roll-their-own micro-blogging services and deploy them on Google App Engine. The new Jaiku Engine will include support for OAuth. Google say they're excited about developers using this proven code as a starting point in creating a freely available and federated, open source micro-blogging platform.
According to the Google Code Blog Other changes in Google services include closure of the Dodgeball mobile networking service and the Mashup editor and applications. Google Video uploads will be discontinued in a few months, as will Google Notebook.
These changes at Google seem to be related to the current grim economic climate. As Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of webzine Search Engine Land, writes "Google engineers have long been at the top of the heap when it comes to the Google pecking order. Now, neither products nor engineers seem to have a protected status, as Google goes into the grim economic times predicted for 2009,". Google has closed 3 new offices, slowed down hiring and wild experimentation is no longer encouraged.
The BBC News reports Matt Cutts, an engineer who has been with Google for eight years, as insisting that the early spirit of freedom and experimentation was still there in the culture. But when pressed on whether even Google could afford that luxury in harder times, admitting that people like him now had perhaps to be a little more focussed on the bottom line. He said the one day in five spent on personal projects was not being discarded.