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The Register On Orkut's TOS

By - February 06, 2004

Andrew Orlowski, whose disdain for all things Google is never veiled, takes apart orkut’s privacy/TOS policy in this Register piece. Andrew points out that orkut’s policies are an awful lot like MSFT’s were in the first version of Passport, policies which caused an outrage not too long ago. MSFT changed its TOS as a result, but Passport has yet to become a web-wide standard.

This is and interesting case study. So far, there has been little outrage about orkut’s policies. I’ll posit an obvious theory: Folks generally trust Google more than they trust MSFT. (Well, most folks do. Not Andrew.) They’re willing to give Google more rope….and see if anyone’s hanging at the end of the day.


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5 thoughts on “The Register On Orkut's TOS

  1. Adam says:

    I actually agree that orkut’s terms could be phrased a bit more narrowly and in a more friendly manner.

    However, I think you touch on what is going through the minds of consumers: Google has shown they can be trusted. While I don’t agree with all of Google’s policies, I’ve found that the people who work there and the overall ethos of the place to be of very high integrity.

    And let’s face it: Google’s brand DEPENDS upon the company’s positive and trusted relationship with consumers. Whereas MS doesn’t have nearly as much at stake (it’s not easy to forgo Windows and Office), it’s a super-easy matter to use another search engine at the drop of a hat. And I have no doubt that people would, too, if given reason to distrust Google.

    Oh, and about Orlowski: like anything from people who is exclusively one-note (and, for that matter, typically just downright snarky and nasty), most smart folks know to take such rantings with a grain of salt. He’s about as “fair and balanced” as the Fox network — and just as annoying, IMHO.

  2. Mark Eichin says:

    There’s probably been less outrage (though I’ve posted plenty of my own) for one simple reason: *anything* microsoft does can be expected to be rammed down the throat of 80% of the net, and people have (with lots of evidence, reread the Finding of Fact if you’ve forgotten) come to look at Microsoft in the worst possible light by default.

    Orkut, on the other hand, still looks like “another friendster/sixdegrees/linkedin/tribe/whatever” — something that will blow through a novelty stage, continue to work poorly if at all, and eventually drop back into oblivion as people realize that there isn’t really “any *there* there.” With any luck, the “google affiliation” gives it a chance to suck the space dry — so people will stop trying :-)

  3. JD Lasica says:

    I concur that Orkut needs less of a dose of heavy lawyering in its TOS But what kind of content do people post in a social networking space other than a couple of crummy thumbnail photos and details about some embarrassing personal interests?

  4. Gen Kanai says:

    I am saddened and angered with the TOS for Orkut, enough that I have not joined, even though many of my friends have and have invited me in. What happened to “not being evil?”

    JD, once Orkut gets out of Beta and really gets going, they will have a ton of information about the users, much more than just ” a couple of crummy thumbnail photos and details about some embarrassing personal interests.” Look at Usenet on Google- how much data do they have there.

  5. Seungkyu says:

    I agree but I would love to get invited to Orkut to see what it has to offer. Is there anybody who could kindly invite me to join? Thanks.