Do you use Orkut? Orkut is an online community service created by Google back in 2003 that is now largely eclipsed by Facebook, and Myspace. Nonetheless, it still boasts of millions of users worldwide, although most of the demographic makeup has now switched to Brazil and India. Like most Google applications, in order to use Orkut, all you need is your Google account ID.
One of Orkut’s features is its chat. Previously people used to chat in Orkut by using Greasemonkey hacks. Google launched their beta version of its browser chat not long ago, and now this chat facility has been integrated within Orkut. Here are some likes and dislikes regarding Google Talk in Orkut.
The first thing is of course, the ability to talk instantly with friends who are online. Though Orkut have made the “scrap chatting” much popular, constantly refreshing and checking the page for newer scraps becomes boring after a while. The ability to chat in “real time” is a big improvement.
Unlike Gmail, in Orkut you have an added feature whereby you can choose to allow some of your friends to chat with you, or simply limit it to certain groups which you can easily create from the Friend Settings page. You can enable/disable/configure this feature easily from your profile settings. This improves the chat to somewhat of the level of popular chat applications like MSN Messenger or AOL, but not quite – as we’ll see.
There are also some dislikes about the integration of Google talk in Orkut. The chat window cannot be freed from the browser as it is possible in Gmail. This maintains the same problem of coming back to that page and checking for updates in chat sessions.
The chat works alright if you’re chatting with one or two people. But, it becomes crowded if you’re chatting with more than 4 or 5 people – a group chat feature would make life easier, as would video or voice chat for the tech inclined.
Some suggestions have already been given by Orkut users. Google Talk already has a status alert within it. Integrating Orkut status messages with Gtalk status messages should be easy to implement, as is integration of audio/video chat.
The question is whether Google is willing to stand by their product, by providing support. Not just for Orkut, but most other Google products like Gmail or Google Docs – which are all free I must add. A case worth noting is Mark Ghoush’s recent problems with his Orkut/Google account getting hacked. In the case of Orkut, it is probable Google doesn’t consider it as high priority anymore. Hence the frequent security problems – with hardly a response from Google.
Reminder – If you do use Orkut, only log in from your own personal computer, at all times. This practice is also good for any accounts you may have online, anywhere, be it a simple forum membership, or online banking – It cuts your risks down.
Orkut is probably too big for Google to ever shut it down, but if the recent closure of Lively is any indicator, Google will definitely scale down more of its projects, given the economic crunch. Even Facebook has resorted to selling its userbase data, something nobody expected a year ago. Whether Orkut will around in a few years time, is up to its users – and Google.Share This: