Orkut - Evaluation
I disagree. With its closedness, this kind of big-think is more typical of Microsoft or a telephone company (and maybe IBM in the old days).
Newsweek writes as if Google was the first search engine ever. I started with Lycos, quickly switced to AltaVista because of its precise search criteria, then to Google because of its larger index.
These switches were possible because search engines are open, with Google the most open of them all. Now, imagine if I want to switch to an Orkut competitor. That would leave all my Orkut friends behind at orkut.com. Even if all my friends left with me, we would leave what was written in Orkut behind.
Compare this with Upcoming.org, where you also have to register to be allowed to register an event. But anyone can see the RSS feed of events in e.g. Tˇrshavn, and syndication is encouraged. (Upcoming could also be more open, they can't aggregate other feeds, and they do not list time and space data for events in standarized form.)
The idea that messages can be limited to 'friends' only, is fundamentally a good one. But I think the long term solution is news feeds with SSL client certificate authentication. Meanwhile, I think email is the way to go for friendly communication that is not intended for the public.
I don't like the idea that anyone can surf my social network at Orkut. The government intelligence agencies will know anyway, from telephone and email traffic analysis. But the amateurs will not, and the amateurs are probably more dangerous than the government.
I agree. Lately, a lot of the ideas coming from google are clsoed: email, orkut, their algorithm etc. What is this, a cryptic society?And oh yeah we are so exposed there in orkutland.
Well, some secrecy about Google''s algorithm is needed to put a brake on spammers.But I do get frustrated when I see that a site with a US ZIP code is not listed at all on Local Google, and I can''t figure out what''s wrong.At AltaVista, I have figured out: If your site looks like it has a budget, you have to use paid submission. (Yes, "Submit" = "yield to authority" is the word used.)
I agree that it is hard to call Orkut "big-think". It may be a rather resource-demanding project, but it is more due to the architechture than to any real need. As far as I can see, the only feature of Orkut that needs a centralized trusted party is the "crush matching". All the rest could be managed just as well decentralized, using a common protocol/syntax (like the semantic web, as I understand the idea).Direct access to the published data can be controlled using a web-of-trust style public key infrastructure.The problems with a decentralized solution are: 1) Nobody seems to have cared enough to start it. 2) Not everybody have their own server for storing their published networking information on.And about privacy: "Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead."