After receiving requests in my inbox with offers, I'm putting Inside Orkut on the auction block.:-)
For those wondering why I'm selling it, it basically comes down to the fact that I'm no longer using the blog/domain, as well as the fact that other people want to use the domain for (honorable) orkut related activities (note: as far as spammers go that's a different story).
Since this blog is hosted upon Blogger I'll keep the blog itself alive (so it will be upon InsideOrkut.blogspot.com), unless the new owner desires to resurrect the blog (if so let me know).
Companies and individuals interested in buying Inside Orkut can contact me with serious offers. Again, if you are a spammer whose goal is to simply slap ads upon the domain, please do not apply. Thanks!
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
After receiving requests in my inbox with offers, I'm putting Inside Orkut on the auction block.:-)
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Well, if you probably have not noticed, I have not been posting here recently. ;-) I'm officially shutting down this blog, although I will leave the site up as a reference to others (as people are still contacting me with questions!).
Anyways, for those of you seeking to get an Orkut fix, here are a few resources you can check out:
- The Official Orkut Blog: Run by googlers (of course), the official blog documents the latest features from the team--as well as some insight into the world of all things Google.
- Orkut Plus: Run by Gaurav, this site features some of the best hacks for Orkut. A must read for the Orkut addict.
- Orkut Heros: Founded by Zazo, this blog highlights many of the talented individuals who use Orkut daily. It's also a great way for outsiders to check out "orkut culture" (which is very different from MySpace and Facebook).
- Orkut.com: Need I say more? ;-)
As for me, I'll be blogging upon my personal site (which is now powered by WordPress), as well as tweeting on twitter (@Darnell).
I'll leave the comment section open--yet moderated (as I still loath spammers) and feel free to email me at darnell clayton on Gmail (die, spam bots die!).
Monday, April 13, 2009
(Hat Tip: Computerworld)
Dave Girouard, who is in charge of Google's Enterprise group has announced on his Twitter account that Google is working on bringing every service it has to the Google Account--except for the ones that went extinct.
(Dave Girouard) We're working to give you access to every damn Google service with a Google Apps account - yep every damn one of them. Um, maybe not Lively.While I am not sure by everything he means everything (as I doubt Google would add YouTube to the Google Apps arena), Orkut would be a nice addition for small businesses located in Brazil and India--not to mention bloggers as well (as it would compliment Google's Blog*Spot service).
If this rumor does have some truth to it, hopefully Google will consider giving Orkut admins the ability to change the color schemes, as not everyone is a fan of baby blue (as one only has to visit the Google Internet Bus forum to see what I mean).
Sunday, February 15, 2009
While there are many places one can download YouTube videos for free, the last place I thought I would ever see one would be on Orkut--especially since Google has started to crack down on third party sites.
Simply called YouTube Video Downloader, this app allows you to download any YouTube video, although the format will be in .flv format (which you can convert to something a little bit friendlier with the help of Convert Direct).
Now that YouTube has (finally) allowed users to download videos (in high quality too!), I would not be surprised to see this app pulled, although I doubt that Google's lawyers will be able to go after them as the creators posted a legal disclaimer telling you not to download YouTube videos.
(YouTube Video Downloader) Here I would like to warn that NEVER DOWNLOAD ANY VIDEOS FROM YOUTUBE. THIS IS ILLEGAL AND AGAINST GOOGLE'S POLICY. USE THIS POST FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.
Exit question: How long do you think this app will remain up? I give it 48 hours. :-)
Monday, February 09, 2009
A long, long time ago in a place not too far away (at least online), Google introduced Orkut holiday themes to the masses.
Sometimes called Orkut templates or Orkut skins, these themes became so popular they inspired hackers/artists to design hundreds of their own with a little help from GreaseMonkey and Firefox. (note: there is even an Orkut app for Orkut themes as well).
While its good to see both the official Orkut themes and hacked themes appear online (as staring at the baby blue background gets old after awhile), neither of them gives users the freedom to publicly customize their profiles to their tastes (as the hacked themes are only visible to you within Firefox).
Since Google is unlikely to give users the complete freedom to change their Orkut profiles (despite the fact that there is a growing demand for customized Orkut themes), they may want to consider creating an Orkut Theme market where web designers/hackers can apply (and create) free and premium themes for users everywhere.
Even though Orkut has released "a few" official Orkut themes (which are only viewable if one is in India), the fact is that many users may want extra features/designs that Google does not have the time or desire to create.
Example: While I have no objection to Google displaying adsense on my Orkut profile, many users do not enjoy these ads and will often use ad blocking software (like NoScript) to hide/remove them.
Google could allow Orkut users to simply purchase a premium theme that removes these ads from their public profiles (which may delight users who come across ads they may object to for political/religious reasons).
Another feature Google could release (for premium themes only) is the ability to stream music from their public profile without having to depend upon Orkut apps (which are limited) or YouTube (which are often taken down under the threat of lawsuit).
But would users pay for an Orkut theme?
While the vast majority would probably download the free themes (as free costs you nothing), other users would probably want their Orkut profile to stand out from the rest of the orkutsphere (note: at least I would).
One only has to look at the success at blog themes (for WordPress, Blogger and Movable Type) to see how something similar could play out for Orkut.
Since Google probably does not have the time on their hands to create thousands of Orkut themes, it may be wiser for them to outsource it to third party individuals who can create quality templates for free or for a small fee (with Google getting a small cut to pay for hosting).
While Google would have to approve and check each Orkut theme (to make sure they are safe and compatible with most browsers) a theme market could give users the freedom to have customized look without having their Orkut profile appear chaotic (like MySpace).
Thursday, January 29, 2009
It looks like the Google lords have had their fill of Google Groups, and are planning on migrating away from Google usernet forum towards something a little bit more professional.
Vandini Ravindran, an Orkut Guide breaks the news over in the Official Orkut Help Group.
(Orkut Help Forum) Hi everyone,While this news will not make the Google Groups department happy (as the AdSense help team left earlier), this will hopefully make the forum much more useful (as spammers and flamers seem to be targeting Google groups nowadays).
We're in the process of moving the orkut Help Group from Google Groups
to a new platform that offers a number of features our users have
requested. The Forum in Google Groups will be closed to posting once
we've made the switch, but will still be available as an archive of
all the great information you've shared.
Some of the features the new forum will provide:
- Question & answer format to help you find answers quickly
- Better spam detection and prevention
- Public recognition of Top Contributors and frequent posters
I'll make sure to post another announcement as soon as the new forum
launches, but wanted to give you all a heads up so that the change
doesn't take you completely by surprise :)
Thanks in advance for your patience as we work to build a community in
the new orkut Help Forum. We hope you'll come check it out!
No word on when the new help group will be launched, although hopefully it will be by the end of next month.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Five years ago, a Googler from the great nation of Turkey created Google's first official social network.
Since his last name Büyükkökten was fairly hard to pronounce (at least to the average American), Google decided to name their new social network after his first name, Orkut instead (at least according to the rumors).
Despite the fact that it failed to succeed in the US (MySpace and Facebook dominate here), Orkut somehow later on took off in both Brazil and India--and was even given "Google love" on the homepage for a short season.
Although Orkut has gone through many changes ranging from a (desperately needed) site redesign, to Orkut apps to launching Orkut mobile for smart phones (including the iPhone), the site has kept its simple yet functional design, making the site very enjoyable to use.
While I can only guess what 2009 holds for Orkut's future, I am glad that Google gave Orkut a chance early on as it is one of the few sites that allows me to actively interact with people from half way around the world (mostly from India and Brazil, but also Pakistan, Israel, England, and those crazy--yet lovable Iranians).
Happy Birthday Orkut! And thanks to all of the Googlers (especially the founder) who spend time improving the site, and for putting up with our constant whining (at least mine).
Update (1/25): The Official Orkut Blog not only celebrates its 5th anniversary, but hints towards even greater surprises for 2009.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
(Hat Tip: TechCrunch and Search Engine Land)
Unless you have been living a geek free life, you have probably heard about Google closing down Dodgeball, Mashup Editor, Jaiku (which will live on in the open source wilderness), as well as choking uploads to Google Video and removing support for Google Notebooks.
This wave of shutdowns surprised many people, causing some to wonder if Google will close down other popular (yet expensive) services--Orkut included.
While it is impossible to know which services Google may shut down (unless one is a Googler themselves), here are a few reasons why I think the search engine giant may decide to keep Orkut alive instead of killing it off in order to survive the upcoming recession.
- Orkut has influence: Despite failing in America, Orkut is very popular in both Brazil and India. If one were to look at global trends, Orkut comes in 9th place (according to comScore) when it comes to unique visitors.
If Google ever did shut down Orkut, there would probably be a lot of outrage in South America and the Indian subcontinent (which would hurt the Google brand over seas).
- Potential for profit: With Orkut now running Google Adsense throughout forums, searches and (unfortunately) profiles, Orkut may just be creating a little wealth for Google (if not paying for most of the costs to keep the servers alive).
Orkut may also be able to generate some extra cash by entering the VoIP arena (with some help from Google Talk and GrandCentral).
Note: Orkut also has a third option, but I'll save that for another post. ;-)
- Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers!: Orkut is one of the few non search Google services that has a large following of third party companies or (as Steve Baller of Microsoft likes to call them) developers, developers, developers, developers!
Thus far Orkut has almost 2,000 Orkut apps created by third party companies or hackers, not to mention countless GreaseMonkey scripts and Firefox extensions (with hacks for Google Chrome hopefully along the way).
Unless Google desired to inspire frustration among its geek community (at least overseas), they probably would not kill off Orkut unless the companies financial existence was seriously threatened with extinction.
Even though Google may decide to cut even more services in the future (like Google Knol which is Google's version of Wikipedia) I do not see the search engine giant killing off Orkut--at least in the near future.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Last month, there were reports that a group calling themselves HMG (note: what does HMG stand for?) had successfully hacked the Islamic Republic of Pakistan orkut forum (or IRP for short), which may have been a response to the Mumbai attacks that shocked India (and the world) two months ago.
When I first heard about the Orkut hack, I was hoping that Google would be able to restore access to the original owners of the forum (as Google has done previously when Orkut forums were hacked en mass).
Unfortunately it seems as if the original owner of the Orkut forum, Arzoo (whose profile is no longer working) was deleted, allowing for any member of the forum to "simply inherit" the rights to the IRP community.
Many former members of IRP have since created two other Orkut forums (although both communities are not as large as the original forum).
Later on it was reported that Pakistani hackers were able to briefly take over the Dr. APJ Abdul kalam's Fan Club forum (note: the original owners were able to recover it back).
(CIOL.com) Pakistani hackers have targeted the Orkut community of Dr Abdul Kalam. [...]I am hearing more reports of various forums hacked by either side, although thus far these are the only two that I can confirm at the moment (as Google may have restored the others to their original owners).
The orkut page of Dr Kalam currently reads "We, the people of India, apologizes to our Pakistani brothers and ISI for barbaric acts of terrorism like Mumbai and Gujarat and many more which were originated and carried out by few citizens of India and supported by government of India. We condemn such acts to fullest."
While I do understand why everyone's emotions are running high (as America experienced something similar after September 11th), I do not see the point in these forum hijackings as it only helps divide Indians and Pakistani's (which is probably the goal of the terrorists).
Fortunately there are a few Orkut forums out there trying to bring both sides together (note: and they have even started a unity petition).
Hopefully both sides can find more ways of working together--especially the hackers who would probably benefit everyone by creating more Orkut Apps--or even mobile apps for Orkut (which is definitely needed for Google Android phones as well as the iPhone).
So instead of trying to tear Orkut apart, why not instead try to build it up into something great together? (and perhaps makes some money on the side).
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
This past year alone Google added a bunch of features to Orkut ranging from chatting (via Google Talk) to mobile (for regular cell phones, the iPhone and Symboan smart phones), to finally enabling private forums (a feature police may not like) as well as the ability to easily share images with your friends.
While we can only imagine what the boys and girls at Google will do as far as Orkut is concerned, here is my educated guess as to what Google will have accomplished by the end of 2009.
10,000 20,000 Orkut Apps!
Google has already crossed the 1,000 app thresh hold (they are at 1,668) and at this rate I will be surprised if they have not passed 20,000 Orkut apps (let alone 10,000).
Hopefully by then we will have categories to make it easier to sort/locate/organize apps by our tastes.
Now that FeedBurner is apart of the Google family, I think we may finally see email subscriptions for forum threads (which will help keep community conversations--and forums--alive much longer).
I also predict that Google may enable RSS feeds for Orkut forums (similar to what Rahul has done with Orkut Feeds).
Raising the friend limit to 5,000
Google currently limits the number of friend connections you can have on Orkut to 1,000 (although their are various hacks to get around it). Expect Google to bump this up to 5,000 (or even better, provide no limits).
Video Chat in Gtalk (With VoIP to-go?)
With Google recently launching video chat within Gmail, I would not be surprised if Google decided to add this feature within Orkut as well (after previously adding Google Talk not too long ago).
Google may also try to experiment with VoIP on Orkut for Brazilian, Indian and American users in order to find another way to pay for the hosting/bandwidth fees of running Orkut (as simply slapping AdSense on everything probably does not pay all of Orkut's bills).
That is assuming GrandCentral (which Google purchased last year) is still alive.
A native Orkut Android App
For those of you who are new to the world of "mobile geek," Google has recently launched Android, a mobile operating system that can turn regular smart phones into iPhone killers.
Since the iPhone is ridiculously priced at 31,000 Rupees (or $640 USD) in India and 1,089 Reals (or $470 USD) in Brazil (note: its $200 in the US), Google will probably push for more carriers in both Brazil and India to adopt more affordable Android phones, which could result in the search engine giant creating an Orkut Android App.
Longshot: AdSense Revenue Sharing (for large forums)
Google will probably being experimenting with sharing AdSense revenue with forum owners, which could help entice owners to keep their communities not only active, but spam free as well.
While I do not think Google would (or should) roll this out to the masses this year (as they have to improve the security situation regarding hacked forums), I believe they will test this with some of the large forums on Orkut, and may eventually roll this out to the rest of the orkutsphere (if their experiment proves to be successful).
Any other predictions?
These are a few of my predictions regarding Orkut for next year, and if you have any other guesses, tips, etc. feel free to post them in the comment section below (and if you have a link, simply paste it below for the rest of us to see).
Monday, December 29, 2008
With 2008 quickly coming to an end, it looks like Google has been rolling out its new holiday theme for Indian and Brazilian users (which makes sense as the majority of Orkut users come from these countries).
Here is a snapshot of what the Brazilian theme looks like courtesy of Gaurav Dua of Orkut Plus fame.
I am not yet seeing this in my profile, although I have not heard any of my American friends via Orkut status mention this at all (which could indicate that Google may be skipping out on their friends in the US :-( ).
If anyone else sees this in their profile, feel free to tease me about in the comment section below (as well as share you likes/dislikes about the theme).
Exit Question: Since Google seems to be geo-locking themes, does this mean that they are giving up on Orkut appealing to Americans?
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Called Chat n Play, this Orkut App is powered by Meebo (which is a website that allows users to chat from Yahoo!, MSN, Gtalk, etc., without downloading any software).
In order for Orkut forum admins, (or even an active user) to enable group chat, all they have to do is highlight and copy their Orkut forum number,...
...then click on the Community Chat Rooms link...
...then paste it into the Community ID box as seen in the example below.
After that hit the Create Room button and watch as your groups forum appears. :-)
This should prove as a useful tool for Orkut community members (as it could help cut down on those short responses within forums).
Note: It looks as if this Orkut app already has a clone (as you can see from the name). Hmm...
Update (12/29): Corrected spelling of Blakut. Thanks Kaushik!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
As some of you may have noticed, I have been publishing very few articles across several of my blogs.
Due to the busy season I have been scaling back writing online, although I should be back to posting regularly after the holiday season comes to a close.
Until then, I would like to wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas, a Happy Channukah or a solemn Festivus (for you Seinfeld fans), and feel free to email/Tweet/scrap me--and above all stay safe!
-- Post From My iPhone
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Now that the search engine king's favorite social network has gained well over 1,000 Orkut apps (1306 as of this post), I think it's time for Google to seriously consider adding categories to make it easier to find new Orkut apps to add to our profiles.
Although you can always find new apps from your friends (or by searching), this seems to be a rather inefficient way to discover new apps (as you may not always want to add apps based on your friends tastes and needs).
Google already does this with several other services that they own (such as YouTube, Google Books and even for Orkut communities), so they might want to consider doing the same thing for Orkut apps in order to make finding them a little easier.
Lets say an Orkut user is interested in playing games at work (note: I would not recommend doing this unless you want to lose your job!).
Instead of simply doing a search for games over on the Orkut app directory, they could simply click on the Games category and see apps like:
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- McDonalds (note: Not made by McDonalds)
Other users interested in music could click on the Music category and see apps like:
- Profile Tunes
- My Music (note: there are two other Orkut apps with the same name)
- Tempo Trax
- Music Mazaa
- Sunoh.fm (note: see review)
I could list other similar Orkut apps but I think you would get the idea. :-)
Whether or not Google should create the categories or allow developers to simply apply labels to their apps I will leave to Orkut to decide.
But either way, we need a better way to organize these apps, as the last thing users need to do is sift through 10,000 Orkut apps in the future (which could easily happen at the rate these apps are being submitted and approved).
Monday, December 01, 2008
Google is slowly releasing this feature to users over the next few weeks, although I was fortunate to have my account activated this morning on my profile.
For those of you who have yet to see this feature live in your accounts, here is a brief review on some of the things I loved (and hated) about the new feature.
What I Loved :-)
The first thing I enjoyed was the ability to instantly communicate with friends while they were online. While "scrap chatting" can be fun, constantly refreshing the page after every scrap alert can become irritating after a while.
Another great feature that I enjoyed was the ability to choose to allow all of your friends to chat with you in Orkut, or simply limit it to certain groups (that you create within your friends settings page).
Missing features :-(
While anchoring at the bottom is convenient if someone is chatting with one or two people, it may become crowded if one is chatting with a lot of friends (unless of course Orkut decides to add group talk which might make it easier).
I also did not like the fact that video and voice chat were not included, a feature I think many Orkut users would really enjoy (as hearing your friends voice and seeing their face is a lot better than typing in text).
Since many users on Orkut also use the site for business networking (or even to locate a new job), video/voice chat would allow users to interview live over Orkut without the need to set foot in the office (which could save everyone some money during this recession).
Future suggestions ;-)
Since Google Talk already contains a status alert within its chat program, it would be really cool to see Google integrate Orkut status with Gtalk status.
It would also be great to see Google Talk embrace VoIP on Orkut, since most of Orkut's users come from Brazil and India (with the US coming in third).
This would give the Orkut business community another inexpensive option to communicate with suppliers/carriers, as well as give Skype some much needed competition. (note: Google already owns a VoIP company called GrandCentral, although they have yet to expand it beyond the US).
If anyone else has Google Talk activated within your account, feel free to share your suggestions, experiences, blog reviews (with a link) or screen names below (note: mine is HiddenNook).