Do you remember everyone’s first love, before Facebook came into our lives? Yes, you got it right, I am talking about Orkut!
Founded by Orkut Büyükkökten and Githin Jose in the year 2004, Orkut was a pioneering social networking website that got us busy in ‘scrapbooks’ and ‘testimonials’ before we knew the world of Facebook and became more familiar with other social media like Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat. While Orkut was synonymous with social networking at a point in time with a strong community of 300 million users, the era sadly came to an end in 2014 when Orkut was retired.
However, the latest news on the block is, Orkut’s founder Orkut Büyükkökten is introducing the world to a new social network called Hello which is focusing on “love” as opposed to the “likes” of Facebook. We know from his blog that Hello is designed to connect with people sharing the same passions and interests and as he says, it is built on loves and not likes. Hello is currently available for download on Android and iOS mobile phones in Unites States, Canada, Britain, France, Australia, Brazil and Ireland, whereas Germany, Mexico, and India are the next countries on the list where the app should be available by next month.
Almost 12 years after Orkut was launched, Hello is the next generation of it as Büyükkökten calls it, since it is taking the game to the next level where Hello connects you with people and content that surrounds your passions. Büyükkökten, along with a small group of ex-Google engineers has founded Hello Network, Inc. which is headquartered in San Francisco and has a team of 20. If you have the question in mind as to why the app is named hello then Büyükkökten says, “Hello connects us all. You can say hello in any language and is probably the most widely spoken word after ‘Okay’. Aló, halo, alô, hallo, alló, hello. Fear and hatred have no place when you make such a simple and friendly gesture to someone else.” The idea behind Hello is to make the world a friendlier place.
Hello does seem to have taken some attributes from Instagram, Pinterest and also Snapchat in the sense that it has more to do with the visuals than text. The app is not yet equipped to support videos, but when it does, it should be on the lines of Snapchat that allows sharing small clips of 10–15 seconds. Hello does promise us to give more than what present social networking platforms offer.
So you might ask how it works. Once you sign up, you need to select five “personas” that are of your interest, such as photographer, traveler, artist, athlete, foodie, parent, bachelor, animal lover and hundreds more. Although you can select only five of these, Hello provides the option of making changes to your choices in future. So if you are no longer interested in photography but have gained liking towards music then you can simply swap the two. These personas are somewhat like communities to which you want to belong. Once you are ready to use the app and want to post something then you need to assign the content to at least one of the personas that you are into. The app is focused on sharing images rather than text-based posts, where you have the option of editing your images with effects and filters which are similar to Instagram. Hello does have a learning algorithm that helps you to find “potentials”, who are the people sharing your interests and it also personalizes your experience through “folio”, just like how Facebook does with your News Feed. An interesting feature of Hello is its gamification aspect that encourages you to use the app more to earn rewards in terms of “karma”. You unlock more rewards and milestones by creating comments and posts or “jots” as they are known on hello, the number of gifts you have sent and a number of days that you have logged in.
While many new apps and social networking sites have turned up, not all have been successful. Considering the fact that we already have a lot many social networking sites, people may not be eager to join another one. Although Orkut was one of its kinds 10 years back, Hello does seem very similar to the many present day social networking platforms. However, you never know what can go viral these days and Hello might just be the next hit. We surely hope that Hello manages to do much better than its predecessor Orkut.