Naver Japan, a bridgehead of Korean search giant Naver, who is challenging Japanese market second time since 2009, released their new (Tumblr-like) multimedia clipping microblog “Pick” [J].
On Pick, user can post text, image, movie and geolocation. It also encourages users to clip others’ post by 1-click “pick” button so “anyone can join the pick community even if you do not write/upload anything. you do not need writing talent” (on release note).
The above point is exactly where Tumblr is getting success in Japanese. Now Tumblr is seeking to gear up for Japan by hiring Japanese consultant, but localization has not been done yet. Naver Japan has possibility to compete as it is not only all in Japanese UI, but also providing cellphone sites covers 3 major cellphone carriers. iPhone application is also planned, they says.
As the popularity of CyberAgent Ameba blog hosting was driven by holding thousand of those well-known people as bloggers, Japanese websphere is fond of TV stars more than in English. The page seems to just reuse RSS feeds, but may attract some web users.
Hatena, Kyoto-based web startup known by their geek users, the most popular social bookmark service Hatena Bookmark, and recent collaboration with Nintendo DS on Ugomemo Hatena (Flipnote Hatena for oversea), announces that they are running closed-beta test of their microblog service Hatena Haiku’s new version Hatena Haiku2 [J] (currently shows error page).
Initially 1,000, currently 3,000 Hatena users have been invited and playing on the Haiku2.
Hatena Haiku is a microblog service which has a handwriting feature on Flash and keyword pages such like hashtag (search results) page give to Twitter users.
According to their release, Haiku2 is,
invitation based (like Mixi)
messages are private within your friends by default
As once defeated a battle against Mixi on PC web, Gree shifted into mobile web with casual games and avatar, supported by the 2nd biggest cellphone carrier KDDI au. Currently Gree PC site only gets 1% of all users. Honestly speaking, no one are using the PC site.
That is why Gree CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka told “It is totally built from scratch. Please forget the current PC Gree site ever existed” with confidence at press conference [J].
The new top page, currently accessible in parallel with the old one, looks much simpler, reminding me both Twitter and Facebook.
Tanaka said the PC Gree will be real-time social service around the Hitokoto (one-phrase) feature, which allows user to exchange what they are doing in 140 letters. It also supports emoji so you may use emoji both on mobile and PC sites. Twitter Japan recently launched Japanese mobile site with Emoji support, but Twitter PC site (which is the same as worldwide version) cannot show/input Emoji.
Besides the Twitter-like feature, Gree ported and porting their successful elements from its mobile version. “Avatars” are shared between the original mobile and PC sites.
“News” and social comments are very similar Mixi provides. “Celebrities Blogs” seems to follow successful CyberAgent’s Ameblo blog.
The current Beta only supports Firefox 3.5, Safari 4 and Google Chrome. On the official release in November, they will support Internet Explorer. They will also provide “Twitter Sync” feature. Casual games will be put to PC version, too.
A dedicated iPhone site is also planned in future, on which user can register to and play on Gree, which is a good news for iPhone users who cannot register any of big 3 social networking at this point.