In 2004, Orkut, one of the most popular social networking sites in the world came into existence. It was developed by an ex-employee from Google named Orkut Büyükkökten. Although Google shelved Orkut in 2014, in its peak time, Orkut was quite a rage. It gained 300 million users across the globe. Even the present #1 Facebook required five years to attain that fame. However, when the #DeleteFacebook campaign is catching all eyes worldwide due to the infamous Cambridge Analytica controversy, Orkut Büyükkökten is coming back with a new social networking website called “Hello”.
In this article, we will give you insights about Orkut Büyükkökten, his thoughts about present user data privacy and about “Hello.com”- the most user-data friendly social network.
Orkut: The Developer’s Story
Orkut Büyükkökten is a Turkish software developer. He started coding (BASIC language) when he was in the fourth grade. As per his interest, he continued to connect with technology and graduated from Stanford University in 2001. Shortly, he got his first job in Google where he worked as a front-end developer.
From the very beginning of his academic career, he wanted to connect people with the medium of technology. His successful attempts to achieve his dreams included creation of two different social networking sites in his college days- Club Nexus and InCircle. However, while working at Google, he created Orkut.com. He was able to provide all the necessary elements a social networking site should contain like one-to-one messaging, profiles and groups. Gradually, the community expanded its reach outside United States to countries like Brazil, Estonia, India and many more. In no time Orkut.com became a rage and eventually grew up to 300 million users worldwide. This was all made possible with the help of a team of 30 designers and engineers. Orkut.com didn’t support sharing of user data and always utilized AdSense for monetization.
However, Orkut stepped out from the Orkut.com project and continued to work as a Product Manager in Google. Unfortunately, in 2014, Google shut down Orkut.com as the Google+ and YouTube Blogger had outpaced Orkut’s growth.
The New Vision: “Hello.com”
The name Orkut in Turkish means a “a happy city”. Orkut always believed that technology could help people easily connect with each other. However, Orkut didn’t want social networking website to be a place where people just share life updates to their existing friends or followers but don’t connect with new people based upon their interests. He says, “You get bombarded by these happy perfect moments that people have and then you feel that you’re missing out. This fear of missing out now has a term, i.e. FOMO. In reality, you know that life is not perfect. Lots of moments are not great and that’s a part of being human because we all have pain, sufferings, and heartbreaks. Social media is hiding all that and creating a culture of people that’s all about ‘look at my friends, look what all I’m doing, look at my selfies’ and that makes us shallow. In order to be happy and content in life, we are asked to shed all ideas about privacy. We have to genuinely express ourselves. We have to be able to get intimate with people around us and share openly, and be able to trust people when we share”.
He also believes that selfies decrease self-love and force you to judge yourself and people according to appearances. He adds, “With the new generation, it’s getting harder and harder to be real. Social ambiguity is in messaging as well. You send a message and the person doesn’t message you back right away but waits for a few hours because they want to act cool. If you message three times in a row, you come out as desperate. All these games that people play aren’t helping us emotionally or psychologically because the normal human response to a message is to respond immediately if you’re available. This is the sign of confidence, whereas we have a generation that’s so insecure that they’re afraid to text right back or make a phone call or share something about themselves which is not perfect.”
With his thoughts to support human emotions and repair the existing bad qualities of social networks, he has come up with an idea called “Hello.com”. In simple terms, it can be called as Orkut 2.0. Unlike Instagram, Twitter or Facebook where you generally stick with existing connections, Hello.com uses user location, passion, personality and reputation to connect people with each other.
User Data Privacy Guaranteed
According to Orkut, many people have lost their trust in social networking websites. Incidents like Cambridge Analytica scandal have solidified their mistrust. Social media services that were intended to serve people are nowadays serving advertisers, shareholders and brands. With Hello, Orkut assures that user data will not be shared with third parties. He says, “On Hello, we do not share data with third parties. We have our own registration and login and so the data doesn’t follow you anywhere”. He aims at developing a system that doesn’t require to share user data to make money. He guarantees transparency while using Hello.com.
Hello.com has already been launched in Brazil in July 2016. Plus, they have its beta version in India that focuses on Bollywood, cricket, and spiritual personas. Hello.com is soon heading towards countries like the US, Germany and France.
Hello app aims to change the way people interact with each other. Moreover, with vision and finesse, Hello has the potential to bring transparency in practices that other social media apps couldn’t do.
At the end, we hope that Hello.com soon helps people to connect better through common interests and passion. The controversy related to user data will certainly help Hello grow faster.