Sunday, November 20, 2005


Google is starting to bother me. Their philosophy of rolling out products while still in Beta testing is evil. Basically they claim that some of their products are still in Beta and this allows them to pretend that membership is exclusive and this makes it somehow more desirable. It uses the fact that humans have an inherent desire for membership in exclusive organizations. The way this works online is that in order to join Gmail and Orkut you have to be invited by somebody who is already a member.

Unfortunately I too am human. One of my roommates in Israel had Gmail so I got an invite. Once into this exclusive club you realize that everything is pretty much the same. Its still email, though with some cute new features. The other Google beta invite-only product is Orkut. Orkut is Google's answer to myspace, friendster, hi5 and yahoo 360. All these are 'social networking' sites. The idea is that you invite your contacts into the network and as they join they bring in more of their contacts. This allows you to meet contacts of contacts. For the longest time I couldn't find anyone with an Orkut membership to invite me. The truth is the only reason I wanted in was because I couldn't otherwise get in and see if its any good.

So anyways I found a place where to ask for an invite and received one. Now that I am in, I see its pretty much the same as the other networks with small differences. Orkut seems to be bilingual in Portuguese and English. By this I mean that 3/4 of the membership is in Brazil. This is by itself strange and is probably being explained by somebody writing a PhD. thesis on online social networking. The other thing is that there are communities that you can join. A community just seems to be a message board where you can see many people's pics and interests. I can see how this can be useful in identifying possible friends if the communities where small enough. However once these go past 30 or so it just seems to become a jumble of faces. An excellent idea might be for these social networking sites to split up these communities geographically once they go over some number. Or at least display community members in order of geographical proximity. I mean its great and all that Hasheem Mahmoud of Lagos, Nigeria shares my love of bonzai trees, but its much more useful to know that Jane Smith of central NJ does so as well.

OK, so if someone wants an invite to Orkut or Gmail tell me.


Blogger E$ said...

Must... resist... pull... of marginally useful... but exclusive members-only... service...

1:17 PM  

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