Interesting Revelations of Orkut Zeitgeist


Google India recently announced its first ever Orkut Zeitgeist in India. Here is the meaning of Zeitgeist,

zeit·geist | Pronunciation: ‘tsIt-"gIst, ‘zIt | Meaning: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era.

"Zeitgeist" means "the spirit of the times", and Google reveals this spirit through the aggregation of millions of search queries we receive every day. We have several tools that give insight into global, regional, past and present search trends. These tools are available for you to play with, explore, and learn from. Use them for everything from business research to trivia answers.

Google has been doing it for quite sometime with its Google Zeitgeist. The aggregation of search keywords based on demographics is what Google Zeitgeist was about.


Remember the news floating around that Katrina Kaif is the most searched female actress with Shahid Kapur leading as the male actor?

Come to think of it, it sure helps immensely to get the insights into what the people are thinking collectively.

But , for a marketer a Zeitgeist is like the Holy Grail.

Getting a peek-a-boo into the customer’s mind is what marketers thrive on. And with youth becoming the most targeted consumer base for marketers , and Orkut Zeitgeist is a great bit of exercise by Google that has immense value to the e-commerce fraternity.

Orkut, being the undisputed king (atleast currently) of "Social networking" being the single largest generators of Indian web traffic are the best place to check out what India’s youth are up to online and turns out they are all on Orkut!

People are using Orkut (ok, twitter and facebook are gaining popularity but in an Indian context, Orkut still continues to take the major chunk of traffic). For a majority of the school / college crowd, Orkut is still the place to network, express themselves, seek advice, to come together around causes and topics that excite them or simply to share their creative pursuits with a wider audience.The kind of communities on Orkut can easily give you an idea that the minds of youth have no barriers.

If you are a fan of cricket, pani puri (Lip smacking Indian snack), pizza, Shahrukh khan and what not, there is atleast one active community in Orkut for anything and everything that you can conjure up. And no they are not "for fun" communities alone. You have Education, programming etc and then there is the always buzzing Stock Market community in Orkut too.

Orkut Zeitgeist looked at the activity in the communities to compile the Orkut Zeitgeist highlighting the trends.

According to Google,

The trends are based on an anonnymized and aggregated study of the behaviour of Indian users over the past seven days. The analysis was repeated over several seven day periods, to confirm the accuracy of results and to rule out episodic variations. We scoured through lists on a national level and then dug deeper into city trends. The results are fascinating.

"Orkut is the number one web property in India with over 17 million* active users that comprise 48% of India’s online population.
Therefore it is no surprise when everyone refers to orkut to comprehend the dominant trends in the Indian way of life.
While different people find different things to do on the web, the list of the top Orkut communities (based on popularity) is the best representation of the unique ways in which Indian users are mining the Internet and social networks." said Rahul Kulkarni, Product Manager, Google

The Orkut Zeitgeist is an exhaustive list, with categorizations like ‘Top National Communities’ and then region based most active communities. Enough has been posted on blogs/websites all around which is basically copied from the official google page. So, instead of repeating the same, you can find it in the official press release on Orkut Zeitgeist Results

Avoiding the redundancy, I put on my marketer hat and penned down what the Orkut Zeitgeist means to Google and the Marketers. As usual, I am open to criticism and backlashes if you find flaws in my thoughts.

For The Marketer

  • A healthy indicator of gauging the community interest.
  • A deeper insight into the minds of the youth and their desires. If "Stylish people" community tops the list, there is a plethora of opportunities for the marketers remotely related to the style/fashion segment. Be it clothes, cosmetics, grooming there is a whole new customer wish-list right there.What better way for a fashion outlet to know what kind of clothes the youth find appealing.
  • It allows for region based targeting. This is one area where i think the most marketers lose money. Some things will appeal only to a specific demographic based audience and doing a nationwide marketing / advertising may only lead to over shooting marketing spends. When you are out targeting the youth, the marketer can now delve into the demographic based interests.

I understand that this might be a exaggeration of sorts, since the Orkut Zeitgeist isn’t the complete picture and I am not the one who understands the marketing nuisances. But, as a wanna-be marketer for whom the Internet audience means a lot, I would not dare to overlook the trends mentioned in the Orkut Zeitgeist. Chances are that I already stalk the online communities for potential user interests and with the Orkut Zeitgeist, google has served it to me on a platter.

Whats in it for Google?

What does Google have to gain from this ? They already have the data and they just refined and published it. But, could be it be that simple. Moreover, Orkut has been around for quite sometime. Why come up with Orkut Zeitgeist now

  • To create a short term buzz and get the focus of people back on Orkut. I am one of them who left Orkut for good. Twitter and Facebook have been giving me able company. But with the Orkut Zeitgeist published, I was tempted to go back and see why a "TCS 200 Batch" community has been doing. I did that and realised some friends have scrapped me and a lot of new additions at Orkut. I stay back and checked out a few. Wouldn’t the same hold for a lot of people who became inactive on Orkut.
  • A boost in revenues with advertisement. An Open Cry to Advertisers to come and advertise with Google Adwords. I am no adwords geek, but I can vouch that some keywords like "style","stock market" should have become more competitive and expensive. Moreover,the advertisers who never signed up with adwords might wanna give it a try, since they now know the kind of footfalls that can occur on their landing pages.

There could be more or it might just be a typical Google routine to share the data that their servers hold. What ever it is, it sure is a welcome move. I enjoyed going through the fine points of the report and it did give me some insights into the minds of the Orkut junta.

What are your thoughts on the same? Did you like the trends presented in the Orkut zeitgeist. More so, if you work in the advertising/marketing domain, I would love to know your opinion on my hypothesis.

Here are a few interesting inferences I picked up on the internet on the Orkut Zeitgeist

  • Indian alarms snooze the maximum
  • Tom congratulates Jerry as they still manage to tickle the young
  • Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most stylish of the lot
  • Battle of the sexes continue even as none win

Interesting uhh…

[This post is written by our regular contributor Ankit Agarwal, an ERP Consultant by profession, a wannabe entrepreneur and stock market stalker by passion]

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  2. Ankit says

    I do get ur point, the revelations sure seem funny at first.
    And yes, Orkut has been sluggish in brining out features, but then lets face it, theres still a big enough percentage on orkut and they swear by it.and there is enough data for tht too:)

    As for ur points saying the activity aint there, i can’t stand for everything but i used to follow the Orkut Nse/bse and by golly, there s so much buzz around there.The updates are almost real time man.
    So, even though it could be a desperate move from Google to bring some buzz to Orkut, it does provide somethin for the infromation consumer to filter the mined data and use it to his/her advantage.

  3. Aayush Puri says

    Well more than making any marketing sense I found the list pretty hilarious :-)

    In any case Orkut’s community (software) simply sucks and has hardly seen an update since Orkut’s inception. Google has been extremely sluggish in adding features to Orkut and it is well paying the price of it too. And Orkut communities have nothing to make some one realize that they had actually joined some community some time ago…they could have tried to take atleast a couple of hit features from Google Groups.

    So even though the groups mentioned might have very high number of users but the user interaction within them cannot be justified using the member strength.

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