Tech Life Call me Orkut.


Google has dipped it’s toe (again) into social software with Orkut. While this service is not featured as part of the Google porfolio of products, it is developed by one (or more) Google employees so, well, it’s a Google product at the end of the day.

Haven’t seen it — clearly, my trusted friends are not in the know. A stale personal page on the guy behind Orkut is here.

Orkut backwards is Tukro which makes about as much sense as Orkut.

[Update 1/23/04: #1]: I’m in. Thanks to a couple of trusted friends who I don’t know.

[Update 1/23/04: #2]: Interesting. The site appears to be based on ASP.NET. It’s performance was nice and spunky until the last hour when it went all-Friendster-like… currently down or terribly slow… can’t tell. Strike that, it’s spunky again.

[Update 1/24/04: #3]: I’ve now got roughly the same number of friends in Orkut as I do in Friendster. If you assume they’re counting folks in my “personal network” the same way (no idea if they are), you can compare the total network size. # of friends in Orkut: 5746. # of friends in Friendster: 472,161.

[Update 1/25/04: #4]: 12 hours later. # of friends in Orkut: 7354 # of friends in Friendster: 472,619.

[Update 1/25/04: #5]: It appears that no one but knows how to build a scalable social network:

We’ve taken

17 Responses

  1. How is it any different than the multitude of other community sites? seems to be the one to beat as far as I can tell.

  2. P.S., what’s with the timestamp? It seems to be about 8 hours ahead.

  3. These social network thingies are giving me a “yeah, but so what?” reaction. They haven’t hit my holy shit button yet. Is there any compelling reason for someone like me, who isn’t looking for a new partner or a new circle of friends, to be interested?

  4. James 20 years ago

    How about some screenshots from the inside? I would love to see how the site functions and what it looks like.

  5. Jacke 20 years ago

    Curiously enough, “orkut” is Finish slang for “orgasm”.

  6. Augie: Looks to me like the biggest difference between this and is that there’s access controls on a number of the items of data. Overall just looks like they went “huh,’s pretty nice, but let’s do our own and add in those things we thought were missing.”

    Martin: social network thingies probably don’t matter to the antisocial.

  7. Nicholas 20 years ago

    yeah my brother works at GOOGLE so I got invited to ORKUT


  8. Nicholas 20 years ago

    Speaking of which I just created an orkut group for jerkcity, and I used a panel for the image. If this presents a problem for you, feel free to email me.

    I mean, I should have asked beforehand but whatever.

  9. Anyone feel like inviting a total stranger to try it out?

  10. Freiheit: That’s about on a par with saying that blogs only matter to those with something important to say. Social network websites are selling themselves short if they cater solely for the needs of people who want to *make* contacts, and ignore people who want to do interesting stuff with their *existing* circle of friends.

    I already keep in touch with my friends and family through my blog, their blogs, bulletin boards, email, text messaging, instant messaging, webcams, and even the phone. We keep each other up to date about what’s going on in our lives, we coordinate activities, we share photographs. What I really want to know is, what can something like Orkut give me that I don’t already have?

    If it’s just the ability to find out that my pal Richard is two handshakes away from Dave Grohl, then that’s cool, but it’s still a “so what?” for me. The theory behind social networks is fascinating, and some of the stuff they were doing with Club Nexus at Stanford ( is very cool. But so far all the buzz I’ve seen for Orkut makes it look like a) just another way to congratulate yourself on how many friends you have, and b) a fabulous way for Google to extract value from thousands of people’s personal data and social connections.

    What’s in it for ME?

  11. Bosko 20 years ago

    I agree with Martin. The best way for these things to get going is to figure out a way not only to meet new people but to bring existing friends into it. It has to be something so spectacular that it beats IM (or compliments it directly). I remember when I signed up with Friendster – I invited about 20 “real-life” friends and although over time, about 70% actually signed up, I think that only 5% of those 70% ended up inviting other people and/or using it themselves.

    So yeah, social networks may be cool but for the moment that’s all they are. And because cool does not necessarily translate into marketable, I don’t see what the big deal is.

  12. Eli Sarver 20 years ago

    Freiheit: anti-social is not the same as ‘shy’ or ‘reclusive’.

    Anyway I tried Friendster, and it never elicited a ‘holy-shit’, so I doubt Orkut will either. Honestly, in the age of ‘your weblog is your resume’ and ‘your weblog is your social web’, I’m surprised that there are now three ‘social software’ systems out there.

    The links Friendster provides are silly. Because I know someone who knows someone who is gay (which I happen to know him too) every other person in my Friendster list is gay. So much for finding a relationship there, WHAT WITH THE NOT BEING GAY.

    It makes me wish you could control what you consider a friend based on some sort of reputation system. Maybe something like the ‘web of trust’ model used in PGP/GPG?

  13. Rands, how does a brand new site lauching a beta version for a few days, before heading “back to the lab” to work out the kinks they found, represent a failure of some kind?

    The only thing I have to compare orkut to is friendster, and it’s 1,000x friendster in practically every way.

    I like it. I’m looking forward to it coming back up.

  14. TheNintenGenius 20 years ago

    I got invited into Friendster quite a while ago, but I honestly failed to see the point. Granted, I’m not the most socially active person in the world to begin with, but it didn’t seem like Friendster was going to really add anything to my life. The people I have meaningful interactions with I interact with in ways that don’t require Friendster or any other social networks. It’s as simple as that.

  15. acidclone 20 years ago

    Social networks, I’m sorry, are no reason to get a “Holy Shit”… The last thing on the web to give me a holy shit was mIRC, and it beats MSN, ICQ, Orkut, Friendster and all of these social networks hands down… 470k in a network of friends ?!?!?!?! Gimme a break.

  16. chris 20 years ago

    this seems to be a wonderful hub for VENOMOUS CRITICISM of orkut:

  17. Not only does Orkut suck just as much ass, self-justification-wise, as Friendster but it also has a sneaky bastard of a TOS:

    “By submitting, posting or displaying any Materials on or through the service, you automatically grant to us a worldwide, non-exclusive, sublicenseable, transferable, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right to copy, distribute, create derivative works of, publicly perform and display such Materials.”

    Fuck THAT. doesn’t have a TOS at all. BUt again, just as useless. Although it does have an instant-message system that works remarkably well as popups.

    But I agree with the above. Who gives a shit? These things are so monumentally useless to me. LiveJournal is the only useful social network I’ve seen, and that’s because it’s a blog network.