Now that we have had so many social networks jostling for market shares, it is time to stop and wonder how many of these social networks have introduced features that have actually helped in the core concept – of making social networking easier. In the recent past, we have had Facebook clone Twitter’s tagging functionality and Twitter striving to compete with Google on real search while still calling itself a social network to fight Facebook.
I just wonder if any of these is going to make social networking easier? Yes, these are still the leaders in social networking and that is probably why Orkut, a niche geography player in the social networking has taken the next move in making networking easy with the introduction of video chat. Orkut’s prime market is in India and Brazil, and currently only India is a threatened market while in Brazil, their market share is still sitting pretty at 96%
The launch however is not a surprise. Orkut had launched a chat feature that was integrated with Google’s chat feature long time back. However, while video chat was possible with Gmail chat, it was not quite integrated with Orkut and this is a feature that was always on the cards.
But in the wake of the recent aggressive growth of Facebook in India, it is worth studying how much this feature will help Orkut retain its users. Facebook has had triple digit growth figures in India over the past year and it is high time Orkut did something to stop this mass user exodus. Facebook in India has predominantly grown on the metro audience, and despite the recent launch of Facebook Lite, it goes without saying that the features that makes Facebook what it exists only in the heavier version, something that the non-metro audience cannot take.
Now assuming the competition is then only for those users with higher internet bandwidths, Orkut’s introduction of video chat makes sense. This is a feature that the Facebook’s users are yet to have among the core features (though it is available through apps, which is then not a core offering). Will this help Orkut retain users? Well, this might not be THE solution, but anything that can make social networking easier has to help. After all, value addition is key, market share is just consequential. What is your take on this newly launched feature? Will this help Orkut overcome the Facebook challenges?