Google’s Focus On Orkut Points To US Push

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In some markets – such as search – Google looks more like a bulletproof King Kong than a 900-pound gorilla.  In others – such as social networking – Google is vastly less powerful.  There are signs that Google wants to whip Orkut into shape and fix this, however.

Orkut’s received a number of updates in the past 60 or so days, including a redesign and an “updates from your friends” box.  Google has also pulled advertising from the network in an effort not to offend users.  So far, so good – many of Google’s products don’t get half as much attention, and until recently, Orkut probably didn’t even get an eighth.

Then there’s the issue of growth to consider.  Orkut’s been popular in India and Brazil for quite some time, but it’s now experiencing success in other countries.  “Though MySpace still gets four times as much traffic globally, Orkut recently pushed past the News Corp. subsidiary in the Asia Pacific region,” notes BusinessWeek’s Olga Kharif.  “Orkut’s following in that market, which includes China and Japan, has nearly tripled . . . over the past year . . .”

Lastly, we should look at the news concerning Orkut’s API.  Google will reportedly make that accessible to the public, and a wave of applications could follow.  Think of the hype that’s accompanied Facebook’s apps; Orkut’s could be even more popular, and more widely implemented, depending on how Google treats designers.

All in all, this points to a big push.  Google wants Orkut to catch on, and the U.S. and U.K. are probably where it most wants the social network to be popular.

Google’s Focus On Orkut Points To US Push
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