orkut.com - Google's Social Network

orkut.com is a social networking service developed in association with Google. Why the name Orkut? Orkut Büyükkökten, a Google employee that has a significant interest in social networking, developed the service. How did Mr. Orkut have time to develop such a project? Google has a creativity policy of sorts that encourages its employees to use 20% of their time for personal interests.

Google has officially stated that orkut.com is not part of their service offerings (yet) but the fact that the phrase, “in affiliation with Google” appears on every page leads one to believe that this social networking service isn’t going to spin-off into a non-Google entity any time soon.

Google has officially stated that orkut.com is not part of their service offerings (yet) but the fact that the phrase, “in affiliation with Google” appears on every page leads one to believe that this social networking service isn’t going to spin-off into a non-Google entity any time soon.

The service is currently in beta (which is also mentioned on every page) and like a lot of beta services Google fields, orkut.com could stay in beta for a very long time or could fall of the face of the Internet. There are a lot of things that need to be worked out before the beta moniker can be lifted. There is room for improvement in terms of ease of use, navigation, and settings customizations but the service is still in the brand new phase and could easily be made better or be gone.

The likely scenario though is that Google will work out the kinks in the service, take user feedback into consideration, and refine the social networking capabilities as well as the interface and push it out as a Google subdomain and an official Google service offering.

Orkut.com has gotten a lot of hype but not for the typical reasons or for obvious reasons like it being in affiliation with Google or just a new social network. The hype around it is due to the fact that the only way to use orkut.com is to be invited into it.

It’s rumored that Google initially sent out only 12,000 invitations, which leaves a vast majority of Internet users out in the cold. However, it also allows the Internet cream of the crop to pick and choose who enters Orkut’s social network. To rub shoulders with people like Brett Tabke, Cowboy Neal, and Chris Pirillo on a regular basis spreads an infectious desire in the mind of a techie to get an invite into orkut.com.

There are essentially three purposes that I see people using orkut.com for:

The first purpose of orkut.com would be to communicate with personal friends and interacting with friends of those friends in a more direct manor. This equates to integrating e-mail, instant messaging, and blogging all into one private, scalable community.

Another purpose would be to develop business contacts through the numerous available communities. This would really help out when it comes to individuals trying to find help or cultivate ideas for projects they are working on as well as getting more people in a tight regional area working towards a common goal.

I invited my good friend Jonathan Jackson in so he can network and communicate with a very tight community of photographers in addition to individual photographers that live in the same area as he does.

The third and least valuable purpose would be to find dates. Looking for significant others or hookups is an option that is available at orkut.com and will probably be the key aspect in the marketing of the service to the public if Google actually pushes the service out the door. However, it appears to me that most of the people registered on orkut.com aren’t looking for dates they are looking to network.

I believe Google has struck a goldmine of potential in this social network. The possibilities are endless in terms of how orkut.com could be integrated into Google’s other services. However, like all things at Google, only time will tell. Google will stay tight lipped about the service but hopefully orkut.com members won’t be.

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