There has been lots of talk over the past several months about Google trying to get more social with a service rumored to be named “Google Me”. Pundits have pointed to other failed attempts at Google getting social with services like Google Wave, Buzz not living up to expectations and so on. But there is one service that you rarely see mentioned, and that is Google’s true social network, Orkut.
Launched in Jan. 2004, Orkut has never been able to get much of a foothold here in the United States, but the site has had some fairly good success in other countries around the world. The service even managed to become number one in India and Brazil, positions that it has held on to for some time.
It looks like that reign of supremacy may be coming to an end if Facebook has its way.
According to GigaOm, Facebook launched a tool late last week that will allow users in Brazil and India to port picture uploads and status updates over to Orkut so that users will have less of a reason to go back to their old favorite site. All of this comes on the heels of Facebook hitting 21 million users in India, surpassing Orkut’s 20 million. In Brazil things are still running in favor of the Google-owned site having 29 million users to Facebook’s nine million. In both countries Facebook is outpacing Orkut’s growth, but if the current king of social networks is to continue its meteoric growth, they need every user they can find.
The targeted purpose of this tool is obvious as a Facebook spokeswoman confirmed to GigaOm that the data sharing tool is limited to users in those two countries. It does seem a bit curious that Orkut would be the first target for Facebook, but perhaps it offered the easiest tool set for them to work with. It makes you wonder if we might eventually see tools for other popular services such as MySpace, Bebo and so on show up. Perhaps this is a test run for more things to come because, lets face it, with Facebook’s 500 million users, they have to find new ones wherever they can.
What say you? Is Facebook going to start looking to raid other social networks for users?