Orkut again

Saturday 7 February 2004

I've been playing with Orkut, and much of what others have said is true: it's like collecting baseball cards, it's simplistic, it's too binary, it's got no business model, it's too dating-service-like, and so on.

On the other hand, I like the fact that it makes tangible something that is not usually in the forefront of my thought. Exploring the connections is interesting, even if it isn't insightful in some deep way. The Am-I-Hot-Or-Not feel is crass, but the geographic dimension (find friends of friends within 10 miles) is cool.

And it starts interesting conversations about "what is a friend?" One friend (!) defined it as someone for whom you would do a favor. Another defined it as someone to whom you would tell confidential information. Another defined it as someone you would look forward to having lunch with. Clearly these criteria define different sets of people. Connecting with people is important. I think anything that can help us focus on those connections has got to be more good than bad.

If I haven't sent you an invite, and you think I should, drop me a line.

tagged: » 8 reactions

Comments

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Dumky 4:45 PM on 7 Feb 2004

I've been wondering about Orkut. What do you think it brings Google? Same question with Blogger.com...

Of course they have the knowledge and the infrastructure to handle this kind of thing, but what does it bring to their core buisness?

Any thoughts?

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Fred Kiesche 5:03 PM on 7 Feb 2004

What does it bring anybody? I've been reading about it on several blogs, but still haven't a clue as to what the excitement--if there is any--is all about.

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Ned Batchelder 7:39 PM on 7 Feb 2004

I haven't a clue why Google would want to do this, except maybe for the same reason any of us want to do it: to play around with the idea of social networks made explicit, to see if anything happens.

Frankly, most of the hypotheses about business reasons for building one of these things scare me. It all boils down to prying marketing information out of people as far as I can tell.

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Fred Kiesche 5:03 AM on 8 Feb 2004

"It all boils down to prying marketing information out of people as far as I can tell."

Which seems to be every chain's purpose these days. And people behind the counter wonder why I refuse to give out my zip code any more!

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Damien Katz 1:53 PM on 8 Feb 2004

"...these things scare me. It all boils down to prying marketing information out of people as far as I can tell."

Oh dear, I might actually purchase something due to so called "personalized" marketing! And to think I helped them, the horror...

Whats really scary is there are people out there trying to devise new products and services based upon research of what they think I want. How Orwellian. Why oh why can't they just wildly guess who their customers are? If every business just agreed to operate like this then things would be better.

ahhhh, I feel better now. Its been a few days since I gave Ned a hard time about something; far too long. Now if only there were a product that could help with that...

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Ned Batchelder 2:50 PM on 8 Feb 2004

Bring it on, Damien!

I understand it's reasonable for companies to try to sell me stuff, and to try to precisely focus their selling efforts.

I'm just disappointed that all of this fabulous technology, with all of its potential, and all of these interesting ideas, end up being nothing more than another way to match products to consumers. Isn't there more that we can aspire to?

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Fred Kiesche 5:26 PM on 8 Feb 2004

From what somebody else told me is in the TOS/user agreement:

"By submitting, posting or displaying any Materials on or through the orkut.com 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."

So if I post something private they get to use it forever?

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Mark Mascolino 11:57 AM on 10 Feb 2004

Its not really Google offering the service but one of their engineers who works on the project in the portion of his time that Google allots for side or research projects (a very cool policy). As last I heard, Orkut isn't even hosted at the same facility that does Google.

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