How Orkut could regain strength in front of Facebook

“ Some find it hard to believe, some find it obvious now; some says that it will regain the place back, some says its just international trend arrived at India now; some wants to see Orkut rising again and some finding ways to shift their profile/ photos etc from Orkut to Facebook. But its true Orkut is loosing the turf in India against the Facebook: Social Network Giant for rest part of the world since long. ”

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The news is not new and been floating around here on web since March 2009 that Facebook is getting a steady rise in India while growth of Orkut getting slower. I thought to write over it, n102452128776_1831when something attracted me to Facebook recently. It was addictive Farmwille application, which got kind-of-craze among my colleagues in recent days and when the craze finally got me, then I was surprised to see many of known faces on Facebook. I was also impressed with this particular application in the way its single handedly keeping users engaged in each hour and also luring more to join.


I had profiles on both of the social networks:

Orkut and Facebook, but Orkut always remained prime for me. In fact, I was logging into Facebook once in a while in month only, while Orkut was part of daily habits from Home, from Office, from Mobile. I kept on hearing about national/ international celebrity profiles on Facebook and getting search results showing Facebook profiles, but still it was not able to lure me as I didn’t thought that its offering me anything more than I getting from Orkut, specially after recent makeover of Orkut.

But after checking out techcrunch article, I thought to gather some info about the same topic and in the same way, I came across few interesting articles like 12 Best Reasons Why People Leave Orkut And Migrate To Facebook & 10 Ways Orkut Can Compete with Facebook and felt that I could come up with a few answers and suggestions of my own:


  1. Privacy: There is a lot of buzz about this and many people choosing Facebook over Orkut, because of this only. Initially, as per generic philosophy privacyof Google, it was to be open for all means one has to be shown as he is with all others. Scrapbook, photos, Friend Network and Profile info, everything was open to all. So, it was an open world, where you could contact and know about others in the way, they want to tell the world they are.

    In Facebook, by default only your friends can see your profile. The others can only see your name and thumbnail (reduced version of the profile picture). Nothing more. In addition, you can always configure the options for privacy as deemed appropriate.

    But many times it happens that you wanted to be open for some people and for some, you want to remain closed shell. Like celebrities or popular people, if everyone is allowed to write to them, then they wont be able to use these social networks coz of spam. So, later on, Orkut added some restrictions like only your friends could write in your scraps or could see your photos/ videos (in case of photos, restrictions could be categorized per person basis). Although somewhere I find these step more of caused by market demands than the original philosophy. More or less, people called it a welcome step, but still Orkut kept it more open than Facebook.

    As a step to answer demands, I think Orkut really needs to provide some more detailed Privacy configuration options. Like scrap book could be managed to open for people/ groups only we want, others could only read their scraps only or not even could write. Same for new feeds, photos, profiles and other features.

    Specially, where Orkut needs to look out is restriction over profile view. Even if I liked the larger profile pics, some might not and moreover, they might not be wishing to roll out their information for all. Although as being a technocrat, I understand the difficulties lying under such a big change as it will require to change the root way, Orkut stores information for users, which will not be a simple task.

  2. Publicity: We really find Orkut keeping itself low profile in comparison to Facebook, which although been a philosophy of Googlepublicity about all of its products. Google always  placed its products on top without too much going into media on the basis of its own unmatched set of features only. While this strategy worked for most of the services, might be reason of failure in case of Orkut. Facebook really has a strong media presence and in other part of world, we really could find many people, who might not even heard of Orkut.

    It’s really high time, Google should think about Media presence of Orkut even if Google doesn’t want it to be a Business Website. Although I also know the implications that it’ll also lead to brining more ads to Orkut in the way Facebook has coz no point in investing in media management, if you are not making high business use of the same. But still I am looking for Orkut to be heard in most part of the world.

  3. Applications: This is really becoming the bottleneck of the equations between Orkut and Facebook. Even if Facebook already been an orkut-appsestablished brand, now in India, its getting an high very much due to its diverse applications. Orkut also has few applications, but those are really few and none are kind of engaging in the way Facebook has some like Farmville and Mafia Wars.

    As I said this is bottleneck, so Orkut should really do something about it, not today, but now.

  4. Restricted Networking: In case of Facebook, if you wished to join Community of your Company Network,restricted then what you need a genuine corporate email id, otherwise, it wont  allow you to join, while in case of Orkut, its maximum level is moderator’s approval, whose task goes tough, if company is spread around world and moderator has no efficient and effective way to evaluate in real time.

    For some it might be, but as per my view, Orkut should not bother about such a feature. Orkut was not an Official Place sort for Corporate and communities were created by users only not from Corporate itself. It was not business world, but was an open and simpler world and I wish it remain open in the same way, coz this was the reason, Orkut was liked and grown even when MySpace and FaceBook were already giants in other parts of world.

  5. Design: Some find Orkut’s design as a benchmark, while some says same for Facebook. When I joined Orkut, then it was due to its decent and simple blue theme and even this was the tagline then. Although as per demands, it changed its way. I really dont know yet, if Facebook has something like scrapbook, where actual conversations flow and sometimes, you could get an idea about people by their scrapbooks, while Facebook kept it around newsfeeds, which might be many at a time as per size of your friend list.

    Though Facebook had an advantage earlier to keep most of the things limited to one page only, but new look of Orkut made it compete in that way as well.
    facebook new look New-Orkut-SnapShot

    I really find nothing to change from the root about Orkut design right now. It should grow with its own learning curve as being done in past. 

  6. Photo Tagging: Although that was an area, where Facebook started, but Orkut got it more better with face recognition. In facebook, you find the face manually, photo-taggingwhile in Orkut  it does the same automatically and recent makeover of Photo updates make it scoring higher over Facebook.

    What I am really looking for as an addition to Orkut Photos system, is its integration with Picasa & Picasa web. I means you could sync your Orkut album with the one you own at your home and upload photos from Picasa to Orkut. I know Orkut could do this due to integration of its services and really looking for, when this change will happen.

  7. Status Updates/ News Feed/ Link Share: This was really an area, where I was looking for an improvement from Orkut orkut-status-updatesside, which Orkut recently heard, by providing Share on Orkut feature. I guess, now we could find Orkut Share buttons spreading among blogs like Facebook/ Twitters share buttons. Although still I am disappointed with its being JavaScript based as WordPress.com doesn’t support that or might be I am not able to find some work around.

    But still I find status updates/ news Feeds an area of improvement for Orkut as now. Status updates a.k.a. News Feeds are more configurable, innovative and richer in Facebook right now than Orkut. A must feature, I will be looking for the next improvement in Orkut.

  8. At the end, I really dont wanna see “Bad Bad Server, No Donuts for you” again.

Not finished Yet …. I really want readers to add up more and more suggestions for betterment of Orkut. Please do write.

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Google Chrome Browser: What’s this and why special?

Chrome takes advantage of new technology from ground up, which runs most of these advance features without using as much memory as old browsers do now. It means that Chrome Browser opens up quickly when you clicked it and so for the tabs. You will fee the performance, when you open up Internet Apps designed for Web 2.0, like Google’s sites and services.

So, here we know, why its attractive to pick up. Let’s see more deeper. It got best all, Tabs, Speed Dials with screenshots, Security Features, themes and yet the simplest interface to compete from any other rivals.

Few days back at 19th November 2009, we got the final news about Google Chrome OS that this project is being open-sourced and the OS will actually come to market by end of 2010. The related video are given below:

The same news ignited me to collect some info around Chrome and special things about it. Before the OS itself, in this article I thought to limit myself to Google Chrome Browser only this time.

You have many browser choices out there, if you have Windows then you see the world from the eyes of Internet Explorer, if its MacOS, then your world get flashlights in face of Safari , if its any flavour of Linux, then you are most likely to get the wing from Firefox and if its mobile then you must have seen Opera.

Due to constant updating features and blazing fast performance than other browsers, we already see Firefox racing in front of the giant Internet Explorer in the market share. I really wonder if there is any place left for a new browser and yet the innovator Giant Google announces a new browser, then there must be some means and strong backing behind the same. The core of this concept is around Web 2.0, Chrome was build up from the ground up for Web 2.0 and the focus always remained on speed, security and reliability throughout the visionary design process.

Basically, Internet apps now days takes more than what we known from long as simple HTML. All the other browser started from simple keeping that HTML in mind and then adding on capabilities and so over the time, browsers were sure bulky and slow as first apps has to load then the browser. You must have noticed that how much time Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari takes in opening just the first blank page.


“ This all has gone under a big change with, what we calling the Google Chrome Browser. Chrome takes advantage of new technology from ground up, which runs most of these advance features without using as much memory as old browsers do now. It means that Chrome Browser opens up quickly when you clicked it and so for the tabs. You will fee the performance, when you open up Internet Apps designed for Web 2.0, like Google’s sites and services. ”

So, here we know, why its attractive to pick up. Let’s see more deeper. It got best all, Tabs, Speed Dials with screenshots, Security Features, themes and yet the simplest interface to compete from any other rivals.


The Omnibox (New address bar): Its unique feature (although Firefox also have it in a way) is its Omnibox, which we know as Address Bar. In Omnibox, Google Chrome has combined the address bar, the search bar, the search from other sites and a little more. Let’s put the points over some of the features:

1- Link Navigation: The most basic thing of browser to type in address in address bar, has got more wing with added help and suggestions from web, from your history and making to type much lesser keys then ever with its real time suggestions.

2- Web Search: You could type anything to search for in the Omnibox and you get will to the search results of any search provider (Google is default one).

search

3- Web-History Search: It makes it much easier to search within pages, you already visited. Just type a keywords from middle and it will pick up whole link you visited. Isn’t this cool for most of us?

history

4- Bookmarks: Google now have provided Bookmark sync through Google Account itself, which enables user to have their bookmarks everywhere they logged in, but even if you are not using that it combines local and google’s bookmarks of yours and provide real time suggestions, while you type in the Omnibox, aiding you at its best to reach out your site.

history

5- Search out of search engines: This is a feature, right now lesser people know about. You want to search something in YouTube, type in YouTube.com in Omnibox and it will display message like “Press TAB to search YouTube.com”, press tab and you will get “Search Youtube.com: ” written in Omnibox and then type in any word after the colon and here you go.

tab searchtab search2

For the people caring about their privacy concerns from these above mention features, there are option to control most of the features, even could have separate profiles with little tweaking. And above all, you have option of incognito windows, opened by Ctrl+Shift+N, in which whatever you do, don’t get recorded in history. Unlike Firefox’s Private browsing, it doesn’t shut off the other opened windows means you could work in normal windows and incognito windows at the same time :).

I am dammn sure that this Omnibox has started changing the way we see browsing for the people, who has started using it. Just give it a few mins and it starts learning your preferences on its own. You open Chrome again and it shows your frequently visited pages with their snapshots within 60 seconds to choose upon like speed dial.


Playing with the TABs: TABs became an integral part of browsing experience with all browsers, even then Chrome found new ways to improve them. With easy drag and drop, you can change the order of TABs and even pull them out for become a new chrome window. Moreover, technically each TAB runs in a separate process, so even if one page crashes, other TABs are safe and in most of the cases, your whole browser doesn’t crashes.


The simplest toolbar: Forget the days, having a tool/menu bar having menus like File, Edit, View, Favourites, Tools etc. You got just easiest thing, the browser. There is an Start Button for easy Bookmarks, Refresh Button, Navigation for Back-n-Forward and a triangular Go button with Page Menu and Settings Men next to it, that’s it.


Page / Settings/ Options Menu: There is just two menu, having it including option to Text Zoom. You have options to make applications shortcut like for Google Docs, Google Sites, Gmail, Google Maps etc (Thanks to built in Google Gears).


Bookmark Bar: Chrome claims to having most happening bookmark system in browsing world right now. Just click on star button and you get easiest options for this one click bookmark. In rest of the things, it got all that arranging in folder and whenever you want to see bookmark bar, then just press Ctrl+B. When your bookmarks grow in hundreds then search is always inbuilt.


Security, sandboxing and safe browsing: Malware and phishing are two main problems that affect users conviction and assurance on the Internet. In the present time, malware is a very important aspect as it is related to stealing passwords and other documents. With SANDBOXING – a new feature prevents malware from installing itself on your computer. Your passwords and documents are at a safer hand – so, why worry.


Google chrome’s task manager: Just like your own CPU, you can now monitor sites that are using most of the memory, downloading the most bytes and interrupting in browsing sites you are working on – so, just eliminate them and work efficiently without any mess. In addition, you can also see plugins that are associated with the tab.


Although there are much to discuss about in world of advanced features with plugins, hidden features etc but that will lengthen this article much more. So, ending just here with the request that if you haven’t tried Google Chrome, then just give it a try and that’s it.


Saving time with keyboard shortcuts

Use these keyboard shortcuts to take some stress off your mouse. Here are a few mostly used shortcut keys for a quick reference (Full list is here).

Ctrl+T Open a new tab.
Ctrl+W Close the current tab.
Ctrl+Tab Cycle through current tabs.
Ctrl+N Open a new window.
Ctrl+Shift+N Open a new incognito window.
Ctrl+Shift+T Open the last tab you closed.
Alt+Home Open your Home page.
Ctrl+L Jump to the Omnibox.
Ctrl+K Search for a word in the
Omnibox.
Ctrl+F Find text in an open page.
Ctrl++ Increase the font size.
Ctrl+- Decrease the font size.
Ctrl+0 Restore the normal font size.
Ctrl+B Always show the Bookmarks bar.
Ctrl+H Open your browsing history.
Ctrl+J Load your Downloads page.
Ctrl+X Cut.
Ctrl+C Copy.
Ctrl+V Paste.
Ctrl+P Print the current tab.
Shift+Esc Open the Tab Task Manager.

And at the end for knowing Google’s vision over Chrome, the famous comics is always here. For more interested people, I will recommend reading the book Google Sites and Chrome for Dummies.

 

 

 

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