Will Facebook overtake Orkut in India?

It has been three years since social networking started off in this part of the world, and for almost the entire period it has been Orkut that has been the leader in this market. Orkut’s simple interface was preferred as the networking tool over the American favorite MySpace. Facebook was unheard in South Asia (India and Pakistan).

Today Indians constitute over 16% of all Orkut users, just behind Brazil and US. Add to this the Alexa report that Orkut is the fourth most popular site in India just after Yahoo and Google search sites. This gives an indication of how strong Orkut is. But, the hype and popularity that Facebook has received in recent times has also given the site a terrific boost in India. Facebook is now the sixteenth most popular site in India. And this number is well set to increase further considering the hugely positive response from Orkut users who have tried Facebook. But does this mean Facebook will overtake Orkut?

In the light of this question, it will be interesting to see how Orkut has matched up to the increasing demands over the past few months. The interface was completely revamped to give the site a more trendy look. Indian languages were included into the community. You can also scrap in Hindi now!

But I think the biggest boost that Orkut shall get is in the days to come. Recent reports suggest that Orkut is planning to release its Application Program Interface (API) to the public. This means that any freelance developer may use the API to develop applications for orkut users. Facebook is popular for this very same reason: apps. Applications provide Facebook users the ability to do much more with the website than just networking.

Releasing API will also make Orkut a more critical in the commercial aspects. Facebook was virally popularized from companies that used Facebook apps to advertise their product. Now Orkut becomes another avenue for these companies to reach to their target customers. For these companies, their success is directly proportional to the popularity of Orkut. These factors will help Orkut in not just maintaining its lead over other social networks in the Indian market, but also create new markets as users find more interesting things to do with their orkut profiles than just scrapping.

Also read: LinkedIn Vs. Facebook