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December 16, 2007

Find Your Gmail Contacts in orkut

It's not clear whether the fact that Gmail automatically adds to the address book all the people you've ever sent messages makes it irrelevant or comprehensive. It's not clear whether orkut will ever become a respected social network in other places than Brazil and India. But one thing is for sure: orkut really wants to become a serious alternative to Facebook. After adding the news feed, third-party apps via OpenSocial (not yet live), more privacy controls, orkut lets you find your Gmail contacts on orkut and add some of them to yout friends list.

"Your Gmail address is already filled in, and since you've already logged into orkut, we don't have to ask for your Gmail password once again. We'll show you the contacts who are already on orkut, and let you choose which ones to add as friends. For contacts who aren't on orkut yet, we make it easy to choose the ones you want to invite to orkut. You can even add a personal message to send with the invite. Soon, we'll be adding support to import your contacts from other email accounts," promises Jude Britto from orkut.

Even if you don't use orkut, some of your Gmail contacts might have orkut profiles with juicy details.

I wonder if Google would have integrated orkut's data in search results if the service was more popular. orkut lets you find people using advanced filters, but unlike Facebook, you can visit any profile if you are logged in with a Google account. In Brazil and India, orkut is the fourth link in the navigation bar and it sends you to a universal search page with results grouped in three categories: users, communities and topics. orkut, the personals and people profiles categories from Google Base could be the foundation of a people search service.

{ Thank you, Pascal. }

1 comment:

  1. I re-opened an Orkut account after giving up on it a year or more ago. I've found exactly ONE person know in there. And even that is an online contact, not someone I know in "real life".

    Nobody I went to college with, nobody I went to high school with, nobody from big companies I've worked for. Finally, only two people who share my last name, both of which are blank profiles (there seem to be a lot of these for which I have no explanation).

    One thing Google has going for it, which I mentioned in the post above (or is it below) is a practically infinite server capacity. Are Facebooks PHP and MySQL server farms going to hold up under load? For me Facebook has already gotten painfully slow in spots, while Orkut, which I think worldwide actually has more users, is still quite snappy.

    Both systems are filling up with people with fake names (like me) and in some cases many multiple identities, used to push some product or agenda. Can either company in the long run figure out who is real?

    My guess is that Orkut/Google don't have to care. "Let the servers fill up, we've got plenty".

    For me, it gets to be a real convenience when my Google Docs, maps data, contact information, photo collection and on and on are all talking to one another, and right now, Google is just starting that process of connecting everything up.

    The photo application in Facebook is pathetic. they let you upload nice full-sized photos, but only through a Java program that shrinks them down to almost nothing.

    They may hope that their application providers will do some of the heavy listing in that regard. Somehow I suspect that most of them are not prepared to deal with actual success.

    Fascinating to watch this unfold isn't it?