Thursday, February 25, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

Orkut - now and then. And, when......?

I have been accused of living my life in Orkut at one point of time in 2006. That is how insanely I love orkut. It is my first social network site and the one that I really thrived on. I love meeting people, connecting with them and orkut provided me an opportunity to do that online what I never could do so far in the net.

Having said that, this post is a look at what Orkut is now (so called new version) and how I still like the old one better to this one. And, my own suggestions on it's road map - for I love Orkut and as a member, I'm allowed to have my vision for Orkut. C'mon, Eric ain't the only person who has vision for Google products :-D.

I can't list down and do a through a differentiation between the old version and the new version. However, I'm going to list down the key features that I noticed and why the new one doesn't seem to be just right yet.

Old Orkut

  • The UI has three vertical pane - better and intuitive way to navigate.
  • Scrap book opens up in a fully blown page retaining the left pane which helps in navigation.
  • Photos are displayed in much bigger size - which is really good.
  • There is a difference in content when you switched between home and profile page. The middle pane displays different data while the left pane remains the same and maintains the consistency in navigation. Right pane is also there - which can go away and display some thing else if needed.
New Orkut
  • The UI has 2 vertical pane display.
  • Scrap book opens up in the same place as the updates from the other user would be.
  • Photos are displayed in a small size compared to the previous version.
  • The right pane - it is as static as the old HTML is. All I can see is three boxes on the right side of the display that doesn't change if Im viewing the home page or profile. It is just static and to be frank, kinda annoys me too.
  • All the friends are displayed in the friends box. I don't think anybody would want to view all their friends in the same tiny box using a list sort of UI.
  • Rating the user as Fan or Cool or Sexy is not present. Or, Im not able to find it.
  • Color customization is an ill equipped customization and not feature rich and also for the below point.
  • OLD Orkut appears when,
    • I click on the fans on profile
    • Settings
    • Manage friends
    • Manage communities
    • More info link on the profile page.
      •  I think the rendering of old UI is still called or used for some of the links. And this brings about inconsistency in the look and feel.
  • I LIKE
    • The ability to approve members on home page
    • The option to view friends based on their classification/groups.
  • Search Web button. If I want to search the web, I will use google in a next tab. I dont want to have an option that lets me use Orkut to search web - too many buttons. And even if it is there for a purpose, it needs to be presented in a better way.
  • Remove multiple links in the page. Profile is listed twice in the page. And, Home and Profile stands as two separate tabs on top - looks incomplete.
Please see the below image - Green is the one I like; Red needs another look by orkut folks.


Orkut can mimic the real world socializing - this brings in a huge scope of things that can be part of Orkut but select few can be tried and tested as feature. Like,
  • Get Introduced to - this feature can be used by members to get introduced to other members.
  • Collaborate more with google's other social products. Bring in features that can involve interaction between orkut and Picassa, Blog, Maps. These are all web user driver app and they can be integrated with orkut in more ways than one.
Curious question to Google

Why is orkut coming up in the first few listings of the search of my name? Is it a conscious decision by apple to not promote its own app in the listings? Not even my blog (this one) gets listed in the search results of mine. See below.

This is how it is - Now and then. Orkut. Question is when? and what do orkut has to offer and when?