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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Google's Orkut puzzles experts

On January, "Google released a social networking service called Orkut, named after Orkut Buyukkokten, a Google software engineer who developed the project during personal time allowed to him by Google," according to a SearchEngineWatch article . "All employees at Google are allowed to spend twenty percent of their time working on personal interests, a policy Google has to encourage creativity. Buyukkokten had an interest in social networking and so developed his service, Google says. The company then decided to open it to the public." "Until now, the company has resolutely opposed creating content, as some rival portals do, in favor of simply connecting users to information from other Web sites" reports Verne Kopytoff of the San Francisco Chronicle. However, "The debut of several columnists on Google's social networking Web site, Orkut, has some in the Internet industry scratching their heads. Is the popular search engine's first foray into generating content simply an anomaly or a sign of bigger things to come?"

"The articles on Orkut are in an area called "media center" that includes links to author profiles and a photography gallery, the Global Image Cafe. Gavin Tachibana, a former reporter for the Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper, is identified as editor. Five staff writers and two photography editors also contribute, but their affiliation with Google - whether as employees, freelance writers or volunteers- isn't disclosed. Analysts said Google's baby step into the media business could dead end with the Orkut columns. Or the company could follow the footsteps of Yahoo and America Online, which offer online concerts and interviews with musicians, among other things. For now, major publications needn't worry about readers being siphoned off by Google's writerly ambitions. Orkut's columns feature a stream-of-consciousness style common to Web journals, otherwise known as blogs.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle and SearchEngineWatch

Posted by Valérie Gazzano on November 30, 2004 at 01:02 PM | Permalink

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