Orkut is a social network, which allows users to showcase videos, blogs and other content to their circles of friends. The service helps its users reacquaint themselves with old friends, keep up to date with their friends' activities and meet new friends too. The site has all the usual features that you would expect from a social networking site, such as a display of personal information, options to post videos and photos and even a personal blog. Users can completely customize their profile with backgrounds, images, music and "bling" to have it be a complete representation of their personality. Since Google owns YouTube, the integration between YouTube and Orkut is excellent, and posting YouTube videos to one's profile or blog is simple. There are also community groups based around shared interests and users can browse first and second-degree friends.
Orkut was founded in 2004 and is owned and operated by Google. It was a side-project created by a Google employee who shares its namesake, Orkut Büyükkökten. It is not as popular in the US as Facebook or Myspace. However, it was originally aimed at acquiring a global appeal, and soon gained a large following out of Brazil, India and Iran. In fact it is one of the most visited sites in Brazil. In 2008, Google announced that they would move the operations of the site to Brazil due to its user base and mounting legal issues. In October 2011, Alexa traffic listed Orkut.com and Orkut.com.br as the 126th and 128th more visited sites worldwide, respectively. This translates to the site having over 66 million active users worldwide.
Orkut's major selling point is its association with Google. This means that it is hosted on a reliable and lightning-fast Google server, with a slick user interface to boot. As with many social networking sites, it has developed a following in certain regions.
There is some controversy with Orkut and its somewhat unregulated user base. Like most social networking sites, there are issues with fake profiles- either unauthorized profiles of celebrities or people pretending to be someone else. In addition, there have been a number of issues with censorship, including a growing number of hate groups joining the Orkut community. Orkut is at odds between being open and censoring these profiles.
Orkut uses pastel colors that are easy on the eye, and has a slick menu system with easy to understand icons. One can tell that it is related to Google. Some nice widgets available on Orkut included a Daily Fortune and the ability to post personal headlines. The only ads visible were in the specialized community sections.
During the registration process one will be asked for basic information, such as their name, gender, date of birth and email. Individuals can use their Gmail account to login to Orkut, but new users will still need to complete the above information before accessing the site. Once complete they will be directed to their very own profile which they can begin customizing right away in order to start networking.
Orkut is a free service that is supported by advertising revenue. The advertisements on Orkut are not obtrusive and really only visible in certain categories or community sections. There are no plans for Orkut to begin charging its users, since most social networking sites do not do this.
Orkut is a very fast, reliable and fully featured social networking site. It is especially recommended for those with Brazilian or Indian friends. It isn't recommended for children, since there is a problem with explicit or hateful profiles and groups prevailing on this community.