Initial Impression of Orkut.com

First of all, thanks to JZ for inviting to the network, so this morning I have a brief chance to register an account and play around the system a bit. Here's a list of initial impressions.

  • Apparently it is written in C# and ASP.NET. What?! I thought it is done in the spare time from someone works for Google, who has one of the biggest Linux deployment.
  • There are some client side Javascript that uses XMLHTTP which only works on Mozilla and Internet Explorer, but not Safari. It does make the interface easier to use though.
  • Speed is excellence - very different from Friendster.
  • The fields for your profile are quite extensive. From basic personal information, to your style of humour, to your interests, etc. Some fields also have privacy control, which can restrict access to these fields to only yourself, your friends, or your friends' friends.
  • You can give rating to your friends. Anyone wants to be my fan? :)
  • You can easily build communities and put them into their DMOZ like directory.
  • Adding new friends is quite easy, even if they are not already on the network. It would automatically send out an email, waiting for your friend to register, and then connect two individuals together.

However, there appears to be some security problem wrt user-to-user messages, that a member can broadcast a message to all the users in the network. I did get quite a few messages when I logged back in later tonight, and found most of them complaining about this security issue. Someone has already blogged about this hole, as it is quite a shame for such an insecure site to bear Google affiliated sign. It might also have XSS vulnerability - so I need to make sure that I don't click on any link I see...

Overall it is quite a nice implementation of on-line social network/community - at least it feels slick comparing to the competition out there. How would it survive, and what would Google do with it is yet to be seen.