Orkut was dead or it was in exile, for now, let’s just say it was in a dormant state and finding a way to get its foot in the door. ‘Hello‘, founded by Orkut Büyükkökten who was also the founder of one of the early and most famous social media platforms Orkut, has announced its entry into the Indian market. Is it a revamped version of Orkut or just a facelift, is yet to be seen.
According to the founder, Hello was introduced at first in July 2016 in Brazil and about 35,000 users were a part of its beta testing in the Indian market. Buyukkokten believes that today’s social media is isolating people instead of bringing them closer. He said, “It has become more about broadcasting than sharing. We need a fresh start. Hello is built around interest-based communities where users with same interests can connect, leading to true connections.”
Google-owned Orkut was once very popular before it lost its sheen to top-dogs, especially Facebook, and finally succumbed in 2014. Back in its heydays, Orkut was the king of social media. It got famous in India as it was very much responsible for making people get acquainted with social media for the first time. It became a sensation among youngsters who were curious about finding love and friends they could not meet.
The demise of Orkut happened in slow motion but most of us failed to notice as we were enticed by Facebook. The turning point came when Facebook started getting involved with Indian companies. At a point, when Facebook claimed to have 3.2 million active user base in India, Orkut claimed to have 13 million. By the time Google realized what Orkut was really missing out on and that it could affect it adversely, people had shifted their attention to Facebook, Google’s video network Youtube and Twitter. Orkut was halfway through in creating a revolution when Facebook took over. And unsurprisingly, it didn’t take a lot of time for people to do almost similar things in a different way on a different platform.
Honestly, there couldn’t be a better time for Orkut to make a comeback in a new avatar of Hello. Amidst the furore sparked by Facebook’s data breach fiasco, Orkut has come to the rescue and made a considerate attempt to give a new face to social media. The latter doesn’t sell user data to get revenues, as stated by the founder. The aim of the new social networking platform is to create meaningful and authentic connections and sustained social engagement.
The largest social network in the world, Facebook, has over 27 crore users in India, in which nearly 5.62 lakh people were ‘potentially affected’ by the Cambridge Analytica data breach. Facebook has been accused of not being very transparent and secure lately. Few people have already started shifting to other platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. The arrival of our old friend in the form of new ‘Hello’ app can be a big reliever for the users who are looking for a fresh start in the social media journey.
As of now, we did not fiddle too much with the hello app, but it seems like a mix of Instagram and Pinterest. Among its favourite features, it retains the ‘virtual avatar’. On start, it requires you to select your passion, at least five of them, which range from – photographer, clubber, geek, coffee lover, traveller, dancer and many more. The UI is user-friendly and uncluttered.