Facebook users in Brazil and India can now connect their profiles with their account on Orkut, Google’s existing social network. Those who link their profiles can choose to syndicate status updates, photos, Events and more to Orkut upon posting the content to Facebook. The Profile Link product allows users to spend their time on Facebook while still sharing with Orkut friends, which could result in shift in engagement away from Orkut
Orkut initially gained some traction in the US, but now almost all its users are from Brazil or India. The high penetration in these countries has slowed Facebook’s growth there, but in August 2010, Facebook surpassed Orkut’s user count in India. The two countries represent massive growth potential for Facebook, as the service has only registered 13.6 million monthly active users, or 1.1% of the 1,142,070,000 people living in India, and only 5.86 million or 3.1% of the 188 million living in Brazil, according to The Facebook Global Monitor, part of our Inside Facebook Gold membership service tracking Facebook’s business and growth around the world.
When users click the “Link you Profile with Orkut” button on the product page, they are brought to a Google data authorization page. Users are informed that Google is not affiliated with Facebook, and are given options to grant or deny access. If a user is not located in Brazil or India, granting access loops them back to the profile link product page.
Once they’ve given Google account access permission, users can use checkboxes to select to syndicate status updates, links, photos, Notes, Event creations, and Group creations to Orkut. Facebook will also help users locate their Orkut friends on Facebook, reducing the need for syndication, or using Orkut at all.
Some believe the product is a direct attempt to steal users from Google’s social network. However, Orkut offers some unique features such as profile themes and file transfers, so Facebook could also be trying to make it easier to use both simultaneously. Either way, it seems that Google is more focused on readying its upcoming social product, which is aimed at users in the US and everywhere else in the world, not just Orkut’s home countries.