OK. I know I just said that the last thing we need is yet another social networking service. Because it fragments things and screws them up. And I said *bad* things about Google just recently too. But hey, life unfolds from minute to minute. Being curious and receiving an invitation from someone I like, I signed up last night without a second thought. Orkut was down for repairs/upgrades when I first tried but an hour or two later I was in and on.
They've got a big questionnaire that is good I think. Gives you lots of room to quickly list stuff about yourself, interests , and professional stuff if you want to fill that in. And, in lots of places you can control who has access to that particular tidbit - such as your age, for example ;-). The groupings for selection of who gets to see the piece of info are: you, friends, friends of friends and everyone. That's not quite as granular as I would like but is an excellent first cut. And, if you don't fill it in, it just doesn't appear - a blank by that attribute is not displayed for all to see that you did not reveal that info.
Here's what I like mostly. You can surf around with great velocity. You can join *communities* aka bulletin boards, networks whatever quickly. You can surf the people in those communities quickly. It looks great!!! Aesthetics always make a big difference with me when I'm using a piece of software.
So the speed and ease let you get around and see a lot of information in a hurry. I like the decisions they've made in general. They promise your email address is secure. Good enough for me for now. I've invited about 10 people and have some confirmed friends. Am connected to 15000 people with 9 friends. The big numbers are not a goal at all but total people I'm connected to has risen by about 2000 in the last few hours. I'm still interested in the friends of friends and that's about it except when browsing. I like to see which communities people affiliate themselves with and occasionally will look at their profiles. Having legible photos everywhere helps.
It's fun. That's the testimonial. Fun as a function of ease of use, aesthetics, and tasty people information and communication. The less the dating element intrudes the better for my taste. I like that I can make that clear and then actively pursue people for affiliation, friendship, information, support and, oh yeah, business networking. Don't like that my relationship status is one of the key variables displayed in people lists even though I've specified that dating is not what I'm looking for - I would rather see a different variable displayed and hope they fix that one somehow. If you want more opinions and speculation about Orkut, just Google for it. ;-)