What Makes Facebook Win Over Orkut?

I was quite surprised to see the news in the headlines today about the deal of Microsoft with the social networking site Facebook. Facebook is a 3 and a half year old social network for friendship and a community hub. Microsoft’s entry into the social networking venue has raised quite a many eyebrows over the fact that,

Microsoft paid $240 million price for 1.6% stake in Facebook. This clears the view , world’s largest software maker, crudely wanted to deepen its relationship with a startup that didn’t have $200 million in annual revenue

This deal was the only thing which made me to open an account with Facebook. The only other friendship community I am associated till now was Orkut which in my opinion definitely gives a far more friendly user experience than FaceBook, especially now after having registered with Facebook.

I did look around for the reason as to why users prefer FaceBook over Orkut and was surprised to see that Facebook users are more than the number of Orkut users.


The main reason’s for users liking Facebook from what I found were:

  1. Simple and professional user interface
  2. Explanation for being added as a friend
  3. Unique groups or communities
  4. Security of user’s profile and information
  5. Many other fun applications

Orkut India

The reason’s why users don’t like Orkut were as follows:

  1. Amateurish interface (as seen prior to the new one I suppose)
  2. Open scraps and profiles owing to less security
  3. No provision for providing reasons to “Add as friend”
  4. Repetitive groups or communities

The only point where people seemed to love Orkut was it was easier to find old friends and colleagues as compared to Facebook. The only drawback of Facebook was that in the resistance of a beginner to join in for the first time.

I have loved Orkut ever since I joined it after having a bad experience in a yet another online community called Hi5. But Facebook still hasn’t impressed me to the point to digest the fact that Microsoft has ploughed in $240 million (maybe a bitter outcome of Vista has turned its gaze to the online business).

If Facebook’s popularity was the case, then the question arises as to why did Google opt for Orkut?

42 thoughts on “What Makes Facebook Win Over Orkut?

  1. Facebook was a closed service and not much popular at the time when Google acquired Orkut. Since the time Facebook opened the API to its platform for any developer to be able to write applications for it, it has left Orkut and other such services far behind. Today comparing Facebook with Orkut would be like comparing bicycle to a sports car.

    I can use twitter, pownce, shelfari and plenty of other applications from within Facebook, share tons of photos and videos, set custom privacy levels, join groups where real discussion takes place and this just the beginning of what Facebook has to offer.

  2. Thanks for visiting my post on the subject. I did not exactly make a comparison of the two though, since I was more interested in the popularity of the sites. Btw, I’ve just posted a follow-up on the post, based on responses I received.

    My own perceptions, and on your observations:
    – I simply didn’t find the interface user-friendly
    – There are just too many things on the front page.

    Orkut (on your comments):
    1. Yes, the interface has improved considerably over last few months – the “reply” button on individual scraps, navigation bar with tabs for different features, and increased the limit of photos (earlier it was 12, now it is much more, i’ve seen at least 30 photos in an album)
    2. Yes, scraps are open. But then, it is upto the users not to reveal personal information on the public space – they can use “send message” for confidential info. Security – perhaps you missed out on this, but you can restrict who can see your profile, and who can send you friend requests. You need to configure the settings accordingly.
    3. Reason for “add as a friend” – why do you need a reason? Accept the request only if you know/trust the person, Orkut even gives a warning to this effect. However, since then, they have added a feature of sending a message along with the friend request, so go ahead and use the message!
    4. Repetitive groups – That is quite a trouble. I am subscribed to three groups of my college 🙂 But I wonder how does facebook ensure that the communities are unique? People can always use variations of the same name, for example.

  3. The equation is simple:
    Facebooks’s Open API -> Developers all over the world write applications for it -> Richer environment in Facebook -> People who matter use Facebook -> Useful discussion groups are made and maintained.

    You find people from big companies or creators of popular products and web applications on Facebook. Groups like N800 internet tablet do not find any interest among Orkuters. So if you just want to hang out with college friends, Orkut is good. For serious social networking(work + fun), Facebook is leaps and bounds ahead of everything else.

  4. Sigma, Tabrez – You guys are probably to the point. I have seen apps made for facebook which was something new to me. But any guesses why Facebook doesn’t have the Web 2.0 appeal? And why is Microsoft jumping up for it? Of course, it is the next big thing in networks. But why not Myspaces? I guess Myspaces is currently leading the pack in its user base?

  5. Orkut just drove itself into a mess. I’d like to keep subjective analysis to a minimum so refer to http://www.alexa.com and compare the facebook.com and orkut.com growth yourself for the past 6 months and 1 year. Basically the faster something grows, the faster it grows. It’s exponential. On the other hands, orkut’s “demise” is it’s own creation and I don’t think facebook had much to do with especially considering there very different subscriber base. Now however I’m sure that ex-orkutans are signing upto facebook in droves mainly because their friends have moved.

    The single biggest reason cited by Indian friends to move to facebook has been increased privacy and lack of stalkers, this means they can put entire photo albums online without worry.

    I know the facebook interface can take time getting used to but has tremendous potential and can even be simpler than orkut (if the user so intends).

  6. Oh btw http://www.google.com actually suppresses results of facebook being better than orkut!!!!! I’m serious, check it out, a facebook vs orkut search entry turns up year old results of orkut being on the rise whereas other search engines (like yahoo) portray reality like it is (results which show facebook walking all over orkut). I’m sure google owning orkut has nothing to do with this hehe.

  7. Facebook is good in terms of security and groups. It allows any developer to develop applications which I think is what made it stand apart from other social networking sites. Lesser scope of spamming. And it started as an online directory for Stanford students, not Harvard.

    The downside is that profiles can get cumbersome with the number of added applications. More than 85% of the applications developed are worthless and rarely used.

    And Microsoft bought a stake in it just to get into the social networking domain and have a presence. Myspace is still not on sale.

    For what its worth, I think google have responded with OpenSocial but I am skeptic about how well people embrace it.

    Till a social network combines more features like blogging, chatting along with what is present, Facebook shall rule

  8. Google has a long history with Orkut. The creator was a Google employee when he developed Orkut.

    But it’s just survival of the fittest.

  9. I Use Both Orkut And Facebook.
    I Feel That As Far As Security Is Concerned, Orkut And Facebook Are Both Secure.
    Orkut Now Allows Users To Hide Their Albums.
    Facebook… Well … I Guess It Is A Little Toooo Secure..
    I Mean. U Cant Even See A Person’s Profile!
    If You Were Looking For An Old Friend.. And Search For Him On Facebook, You’ll Get 10 Different People With The Same Name..
    You Wont Be Able To See Their Profile And Wont Be Able To Determine If It’s The Person You’re Looking For!
    In Orkut You Get To See The Profile And Can Decide Whether It Is Really The Person You’re Looking For Or Someone Else..

    I Guess Orkut Is More User Friendly..
    When I Joined Orkut In 2006 I Started Using It Right Away..
    But It’s Been A Week Since I Joined Facebook And I’m Still Trying To Get Accustomed To Facebook’s Layout!

  10. I am using both Orkut and Facebook. Facebook have it popularity all around the world. Orkut have the functionality way way ahead of Facebook. the scrap is great indeed.

    But popularity counts I guess. Most of my friends tell me why not joint Facebook. So I did joints.

    But if you are from Brazil or India (which counts about 80% of Orkut users) you never wanted to use Facebook. I was in Brazil last summer, any one who uses a PC he will be having a screen on BrOffice.org (openoffice), Linux Ubuntu, gmail account and most importantly Orkut.

    My wife from India uses Orkut and she could find all her friends from school days to college with minimal profile search which is lacking in Facebook

    Myself a Malaysian, my default most of us here in Malaysia uses Facebook, you need to be facebook member to get connected.

  11. Actually I think facebook’s functionality is so far ahead, it’s a joke to even compare it to Orkut. I mean use them both, the sheer amount of apps and functions in facebook trumps orkut.

    Scrapping is there in facebook too. It’s called wall posts and appears on the feed. Only in true facebook style it’s far more powerful and functional with pics, videos, multimedia, closed chat all possible.

    Finding people is much much easier in facebook since they’re are fewer fake profiles and powerful contextual search.

    Orkuts advantages are total dominance in India and Brazil (which is also a sort of weakness coz I can never find anyone, every single name typed brings with it 900 results).
    Another feature is the inability to lock profiles completely which is actually a sort of strength because it shows you at least a person’s page whereas in facebook you see nothing whatsoever mostly.

  12. Facebook is not a good ‘social networking’ site though one can sit alone and enjoy applications even if no one in friends is coming online. Whilst Orkut aint that good if your friends are not active since you wont have anything to do but check out orkut communities , most of them are heavily active and there’s better interface for discussions.

    And too much privacy ? I dont understand the reason behind it. At one end you want to join a network of people across the world and secondly , you dont want to expose yourself that much ? What’s the point totally closing profiles (info) in facebook. If someone doesn’t want to even tell about him/herself , why is he/she on that site supposed to introduce yourself and let people with similar interest find you.

    Facebook does provide some fun in form of apps , but orkut developers aren’t slouch , they have kept it somewhat interesting by making it more user friendly !

  13. orkut is best in terms of friendly utility…..i have tried using both the network,but i found facebook so complicated & discussions on forums was so tough…but in orkut it is always easy to do so.

    Facebook….a total loser!!!

  14. Nice article…made a good read… I am connected to both orkut & Facebook, but I am yet to feel comfortabel with facebook and the various apps it has…

  15. I hate facebook. I think it can be for anything but social netowrking. Closing your profile is the worst feature..

    Those who think orkut is not even a contender forgets that simplicity is the best!! Orkut wins by huge margin over facebook.

  16. Facebook made success for being one of the firsts, but people who use it still prefer only because its hard to move an entire network to another social network even Facebook being primitive compared to a dozen of other websites

    1. The Facebook interface seems unfinished and its not even close to the term ‘simple’, ‘clean’ and ‘friendly’ like Orkut and others Google websites

    2. The Orkut architecture is made to people meet new people if want, if a person want privacy Orkut has the option of privacy just like Facebook… conclusion, Orkut is more flexible

    3. Groups and communities on Facebook simple DONT WORK, people dont talk and dont share information. Orkut have communities like anysubject foruns that work perfecly well and all the time! (the best caracteristic on Orkut I guess)

    4. If privacy means security, just choose the privacy option in Orkut

    5. The applications are the best thing from Facebook, but the most popular ones are like spams!!! Google now copied some applications to Orkut, the difference? 100% functionality now!

    The only bad thing I see in Orkut is the fact that only brazilians and indians (in majority) use it… english natives still stuck on that ‘improvised’ Facebook…

  17. It is dumb to talk of that much privacy.
    i am a not simple person & what i expect from a social networking site is to get in touch with friends by sending messages, sharing pics, videos, etc.
    only application i use is a nice chess application which i use at times.
    honestly i dont know how to make applications nor am i very interested in them.
    now my point is….most of the users in any site would fall in my category.
    now tell me which site would i choose?
    anyone who has tried both the sites would obviously know the answer.

    so what i want to say is i m not concerned abt some god damn application developer who may (who cares)
    lose his/her job…if people like me follow my heart(hmm..yes even the mind, lol).
    so decide for yourself. [=D]

  18. 100 percent of facebookers are/were orkuters.
    65-70 percent of orkuters are facebookers.
    people climbing facebook so as to catch the already orkuted friend.
    its really a ‘mindset’ try the other one “HUMANS expects more to the new ones”
    not any other thing.

  19. Amazing how facebook is way better than something Google came up with. In India, it will be interesting to see how facebook overtakes orkut in a few months. That is what Google treands or insights for search is forecasting.

    Thanks for the post!

  20. okut ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxtttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttooooooooooooooootttttttttttttttttthhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeecccccccccccccccrrrrrrrrrrooooooooorrrrre

  21. orkut was my first social website simply because Im from Brazil and there aint no one without Orkut.
    when i came to UK I was surprised that I couldnt find anyone in my school because they all had facebook.
    for this reason I made a facebook account, few weeks later I deleted it because I couldnt get use to it, its hard and complicated to use.
    Orkut is far better.

  22. hi i first get into the social network universo back in 2005 and of course it was ORKUT, to say the truth i really love orkut, i have an account in facebook too but i rarely use it i just opened it to keep in touch with english friends ,there are the reason i dont like facebook
    1- i dont like the interface of facebook
    2-its is very confused (with lots of updates of peaple i don’t know
    3-when search for a friend you cant see their profile
    (its make so hard to see if its is your friend)
    4-you cant put as many video or as many fotos as orkut
    5-the comunities dosen’t work like orkut
    the only bad thing in orkut is that you only can find in there is a brazilian and indian citizen,

  23. Surprisingly here in Estonia, which is situated in Northern Europe, Orkut is actually very popular. Recently I’ve seen many people open facebook accounts, including myself, but the thing is that they still use Orkut more – all important updates are made there, pictures are added there and they use orkut communities more. For me, as others have said here before, FB is too complicated and cluttered with irrelevant information. I really love the simple and clean look of Orkut and it’s easy interface + you can keep quite a lot of photos there. In my opinion Orkut beats FB hands down at this time.

  24. orkut is stuffed up, facebook rules and there is no drama. its straight forward. even the new layout of orkut they copied from facebook. fuc k n bastar ds

  25. I think the new orkut is better than old orkut version and facebook as it have privacy for scraps and profile and very good look!!!!!!!!

  26. i use both orkut n facebook.indeed,facebook provides more security features but one has to admit that orkut is much more userfriendly…..

  27. Simplicity is better than complications. I use both but i find orkut easier than facebook. In real sense, orkut rules. Common is very uncommon.

  28. hard to disagree dear neil bt no one give security that can facebook give……….i love to use facebook rather than orkut….and jai Ho facebook. orkut is so simple any one can get information…FACEBOOK IS THE BEST THAN ORKUT.itz Subrata Durgapur.W/B India

  29. Orkut is far far far better than FB.

    i’m having orkut account from 2005 and fb from 2008…in 2-3 days i was able 2 understand the priiciple behind orkut and it found me all my old friends…but in FB im still still struggling. but here in uae FB rues….FB is freaking secured dan orkut…v can get proper result every time…or else v cannot participate in communities like orkut…

  30. i am not understanding wat is the difference? orkut has also provided the security to our profile and scraps.just we have to take care of our setings

  31. Its alwayz said “to be simple its a great thing ”

    dat have been proved by FACEBOOK !!!

    Awesom interface , well managed updates , easy way to access it n lots more

  32. Facebook and orkut. Both are social networking sites however facebook is one of the leading social networking site in the world because of its proper presentation, technology and best quality games. Orkut must need to improve.
    Susan Smith,

  33. Hey frnz. m jst a smple creature wid fully natural and ignorant bent of mind widout ny technical base. So m gvin personal sharin only.

    Startd ORKUT wd all intrst durng 2006 as gt attractd by its look and relevant features (Beautiful&Varied Scraps; The MOST IMPORTANT OPENNESS of PROFILE, as name suggests a social netwrkng Site then y to hide !,). Most amazingly I came in touch wd 12 yrs gap frnds abt whm I smtm thgt to meet in drmz only which made me Orkut’s true Disciple.

    As said here by exprts dat it is amateaur, so thr stand its Significance- NON-Professional, Attractive userfrndly, Simple yet customizable, No engagement wd big applications like FARM VILLA- as u shud b engagd wd mr & mr frnd or person search NOT TO PLAY ONLINE GAMES.

    The BEST SUCCESS OF ORKUT OVER FACEBOOK is that ORKUT HAS OPEN PROFILE SYSTEM, Large Search Results Of single name as Its INCREASE CHANCES of making More frnz.
    Wt SECURITY . . ? Orkut has wt it shud hv bt I belv nthng is secured in CYBER SPACE. Its all ur Luck.

    If u wnt to hide then use EMAILS, Most Profesnal and Secured.!

    I hv Facebk too frm 2008. Last thn lft to b mntiond

  34. 1 more thng for Commercial purposes only-

    I dnt knw y MS allianced wd FACEBOOK. Definitely dat Facebk is popular in Mst of the cntris as cmpard 2 Orkut , so its all abt CUSTOMER BASE, as it seems 2 me. Bt I wd like to advice MSft to create 1 wd Orkut too which cn nvr b a loss at least, whn Facebook is good fr MSft to create alliance.

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