Scott Berkun just announced the launch of Jetpack (no pun intended) on the WordPress.com blog. Jetpack, which lands at its very own fun microsite (pun totally intended), is a set of plugins that connect WordPress.org users with WordPress.com functionality. Jetpack currently includes WordPress.com Stats, Twitter Widget, Gravatar Hovercards, WP.me Shortlinks, Sharedaddy, LaTeX, After the Deadline, and Shortcode Embeds.
In the announcement Berkun described what drove the WordPress.com team to put Jetpack together:
WordPress.com has grown into one of the most amazing cloud architectures in the world. This has enabled blogs hosted here to have features unavailable on self-hosted WordPress installs. This makes us sad, since here at WordPress.com we want every WordPress install everywhere to be amazing.
Jetpack is compatible with any versions of WordPress 3.0.5 and beyond. It also requires a WordPress.com account for most of the features it brings. If you are currently using any of the plugins that Jetpack now brings with it, Installing and using Jetpack will prompt you to switch to the Jetpack-powered version. According to the Jetpack FAQ, all settings and options will move over seamlessly.
JetPack can be downloaded from the new website, but will also eventually be installed by default with many host’s one-click WordPress.org installs. According to TechCrunch, eventually more than 20 plugins will be included in Jetpack.
Matt Mullenweg also shared some background on the Jetpack launch post:
In short, it’s the vision I had for WordPress when I first founded Automattic five years ago finally coming to fruition (and from an amazing team). And we’re thrilled to be joined by great partners as well — Bluehost, DreamHost, Go Daddy, HostGator, Media Temple, and Network Solutions are launch partners. The one-click WordPress installs on all the largest web hosts in the world are now Jetpack-enabled, which means that the vast majority of people experiencing WordPress for the first time will have a seamless Jetpack experience.
Jetpack itself was teased by Mullenweg in a blog post earlier this year, which caused a bit of speculation here at WPCandy. Looks like we’ll have to go back and dig through the guesses to see who came closest!
One can’t help but think back to Mullenweg’s comments at LeWeb a couple of months back, when he spoke about wanting to unify “the dark matter of the web”. While Jetpack doesn’t do that in a big way now, I can’t help but wonder if this is one way he and Automattic hope to move in that direction, long term.