We had reported that Orkut was to ape twitter’s status updates feature and so it has with the launch of the new orkut. Orkut sent me a mailer with an invite to check out the new orkut. They have setup an orkut group for all those folks who want to try out the new orkut here. There is also an animated video describing whats new in the new orkut (Caution: I found the video rather irritating!)
So whats ‘NEW’ with Orkut?
1) “What are you upto?” feature?
As many of you would know orkut never had a status update feature. It always had a USP in scraps which turned into spam posts with malicious links pretty soon. While facebook and twitter have had status updates as the key feature which has worked well for both of them. This move by orkut can be called ‘playing catch up’ to the growing trend of status updates.
Click screenshot of status updates below:
2) Friend Suggestion Feature
The friend suggestion feature was another winner at facebook in connecting people that we may know but might not have added when we signed up. This feature works very well on orkut and my assumption is its because it refers my gmail contacts list to churn out these results unlike facebook which tracks friends of friends to show the results. Offlate a couple of people have already added me on orkut and it remains to be seen if this feature does take off.
Click on screenshot below:
3) Friends Updates Feature
Friends updates or mini feed as its called on facebook is another feature thats been introduced with this new revamp. The feature allows me to see updates of all my friends as well as my updates as well.
Click on screenshot below:
So what has not changed in Orkut?
Well aspects like search and groups seem unchanged. I was disappointed to see groups not seeing any changes as Facebook had made groups more like fanpages recently and I think the status updates model for groups as well as fan pages works really well.
So Is New Orkut Really “New”?
I am not so sure.. The trend I clearly see is that Facebook is becoming more like twitter to stop people from migrating to twitter and orkut is becoming more like facebook to stop people from migrating to facebook. But as we have seen in the past social networking sites have a short life. Starting from friendster, Hi5, Myspace and now orkut all seem to be phasing out after a while. Revamps have been made but it seems users graduate to a new level with each social network and the features that were once sticky don’t remain sticky anymore. Given no cost of switching to a new network there is very little social networks can do to retain users besides for constantly innovating with new features that help users stick. Constant innovation isn’t easy.. Not even for Google!