Orkut, the social network owned by Google with significant market share in Brazil and India, has rolled out an interesting new feature. See the video below (click through from your email/reader):
The tag line they’re using to promote their update is, “You’re not always the same person. Why should it be any different on the web?”
Orkut has brought privacy front and center, by splitting the status feed into the various segments of your life (work, school, best friends, et cetera). When you post a picture, you choose which group of your friends it goes to.
You can almost do this with Facebook, but the difference is that it requires a tremendous amount of deliberate effort to accomplish, and you still won’t perfectly duplicate this clear division. Making this feature the default – and building it into the visual interface – will dramatically change how users behave.
From a consumer standpoint, Orkut’s new featuers are a beautiful thing. I hope it scares Facebook into following suit.
But this won’t happen; it’s too powerful a thing for Facebook to give advertisers blanket access to consumer information. By letting their users draw a line in the sand, Facebook loses one of the most attractive things it has to sell: you.
Also, a correction to yesterday’s post: Orkut has passed Facebook in India, but is not even close in Brazil.