Sunday, February 24, 2008

what the hell is orkut?

Admiring this great infographic on Le Monde depicting the various national social networking website hegemonies, my first reaction was "What the hell is Orkut?" According to the graphic, this is a website with as many users as Facebook! More bizarrely, the first link I visited after a quick search led to a Google sign in page that asked me if I wanted to start an account. OMG! WTF?!?!

Orkut is, as might be presumed from above, a Myspace competitor started by Google, not some secret Soviet space weapon. It was named after the programmer that created it, named (I am not kidding) Orkut Büyükkökten. Orkut never took off in the US, but has done fantastically well in both Brazil and India. The Wikipedia site reads like an abridged thriller, with renegade hackers, government censorship, and secret Nazi webcircles.

I'm amazed that even the internet has such great social and economic hedges raised that I could avoid hearing about something this huge and interesting. This is a website owned by one of the largest companies in the world that has been totally outlawed by Iran. It's a huge social force in two of the largest countries in the Southern Hemisphere. And it was created by a guy with THREE FREAKING UMLOUTS IN HIS NAME. And I get nothing. Apparently Google doesn't think it's a big deal, either, because it's now putting it's efforts into standardizing the architecture of social networking sites, making the host of one's social network less important.

Orkut just makes me think about all of the globally important internet news and technology that must be pouring out of China right now, but that I don't know about, because our country is too proud and the language is too hard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So? What the hell is Orkut? Couldn't you at least describe the "product", rather than just say it's a Facebook alternative?