For all the grief Google gets for not understanding social networks, people often forget that it owns a pretty big one, Orkut. While Orkut is much smaller than Facebook worldwide, it does dominate in at least two large countries: Brazil and India. But that soon may change.
India looks like it is about to fall to Facebook. In May, 2010, Facebook attracted 18 million unique visitors in India, compared to Orkut’s 19.7 million (comScore). In the past year, Facebook grew 177 percent from 6.5 million Indian visitors, compared to 35 percent growth for Orkut. When the June numbers come out, Facebook may very well surpass Orkut in that country. Indeed, Google’s own Trends for websites shows Facebook edging out Orkut in India last month.
Facebook has been pouring a lot of resources into India, and is currently hiring 500 people there. It is a major global priority for the company. Brazil, however, is still safe for Orkut, with 29 million visitors a months versus only 8 million for Facebook.
But Google is no longer pinning its social networking hopes on Orkut. It has moved onto other things like cloning Facebook with its not-so-secret Google Me project. Well, it might not be a complete clone, if the ideas of one Google researcher are any indication.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. The original...
Orkut is a social networking service owned and operated by Google. Although Orkut is less popular in the United States than competing social networks like Facebook and MySpace, it is one of the most visited websites in India and Brazil. Originally hosted in California, in August 2008 Google announced that Orkut will be fully managed and operated in Brazil, by Google Brazil, in the city of Belo Horizonte.