Orkut, Google’s social network that has a lot of users in Brazil and India, has received a major update. Groups of friends are more visible and you can send messages to the members of a group directly from Orkut’s homepage. Orkut also updated search results pages and application pages, while testing a new platform for communities.
There are a lot of changes and it will be interesting to see if Google tests these features in Orkut before launching Google Me, a social network that will compete with Facebook.
One of the major changes in Orkut is the focus on groups. “You love your grandma and you’re friends with your boss, but that doesn’t mean you want them both seeing the conversation you’re having with your friends the day after a party. With orkut, you can now build separate groups of your friends reflecting how you interact with them in real life.” This is one of the ideas from “The Real Life Social Network“, a presentation by Paul Adams, Senior User Experience Researcher at Google.
Google’s Rahul Kulkarni mentioned last year that Orkut will change a lot. “The new Orkut adopts the latest Google Web Toolkit platform and includes features such as built-in simultaneous chat, photo tagging with automatic face detection and private sharing of photo albums including new safety features. This is the beginning of a new direction for Orkut, where users will be able to increasingly share and communicate with groups of friends from their lives.”
Have you ever wanted to quickly send a file to a friend who’s online? Now you can share pictures, documents and other files directly with your friends while chatting in iGoogle and orkut, without having to switch to email to send the file as an attachment. File transfer works directly in the browser so you don’t need to install anything. Just start a conversation with a friend and click “Send a file…” in the “Actions” menu. After you select a file, your friend will be asked if they want to accept the transfer. You can learn more on the Google Talkabout Blog.
You might have noticed that we recently gave iGoogle and orkut chat a face lift. Several tools now have a new home at the top of the chat window. From the new toolbar, you can click the blue camera and phone icons to start video and voice chats with your friends or the group chat icon to add additional friends to a text chat. If you’ve never used video or voice chat before, all you need is a webcam and microphone attached to your computer and a small plugin application available for free at www.google.com/chat/video.
We’re working to bring file transfer and the new toolbar to Gmail too. In the meantime, you can continue to access voice, video and group chat in Gmail from the “Video and More” menu in a chat window.
Extend your Social Media Development into New Markets
Zembly.com just got even better, with new tools to help you create and host applications for popular social networks. In addition to Facebook, meebo, and iGoogle, orkut is now offered as an officially supported application platform on zembly!
Quickly create and host orkut apps with these new features:
IDE Support for orkut APIs & OpenSocial Tags
The advanced code editor offers code completion for popular orkut APIs and provides a convenient list of OpenSocial tags to choose from for integrating your app with the orkut user experience.
Free orkut Application Hosting
Instantly deploy and host orkut applications on zembly’s multi-tenant cloud hosting environment. During the public beta, you can also host zembly-built orkut applications for free up to around 1 million monthly active users.
orkut Template Applications
orkut Template Applications can be cloned and customized with a single click.