Orkut which was known for its openness with regards to anyone being able to view anyones profile. Thats what connected over 69 million users* on orkut. Even indians got taken by the voyeurism aspect of this social network which we have mentioned earlier in our social networking in india presentation.
Why did Orkut Add Privacy Features?
With the entry of facebook which brought with it privacy features that were the primary reason why girls who were tired of “Please make Friendship with me” scraps on orkut. We had brought out the same point earlier in our post on”Why Facebook will be the next Orkut in India“.
Just the other day i was having a discussion with a fellow WATBlogger about how orkut would need to add privacy features in order to retain the girl audience who are increasingly getting away from orkut and moving towards facebook.
Now orkut has done just that! It has added the ability for anyone to keep their photos, videos and testimonials private from everyone else except those who are on their friend list. Possibly a realization set in that their “open approach” though great in getting people to join the network had a lot of nuisance aspect to it too.
Why I feel privacy might hurt orkut in the short term but be beneficial in the longterm..
The privacy features will hurt orkut in the short term as those with voyeuristic tendencies might now find it difficult to scan through a girls photos. What this will do is disappoint a lot of those who come to orkut only to “make friendships”! And if my friends scrapbooks are any sample size to go by there are tonnes of those!
In the longterm though girls would start feeling more secure on orkut with the addition of these privacy features but it may have come a tad too late with quite a sizable audience already migrating to facebook. Also Orkut should start working on getting more apps developed through its Open Api initiative which it launched recently. Even Open Social which google announced should have an impact on increasing interactivity and engagement on Orkut. On the whole it seems like Orkut is playing catch up to facebook which is the flavour of the season. Lets hope its not too late though..