Looking at Orkut, I am surprised to see how this world has become one.
There are communities about drama such as 'Sex and the City' and I see people from all over the world, the US, Japan, Italy, etc. are enjoining this community.
So was fotolog which was a one big global community.
It wasn't in fotolog's interest to become a larger commercial entity. It was their choice and I respect that. But it was sad to see their server not keeping up with the pace of growing membership.
Another sad thing with fotolog is they didn't bother to support Unicode.
Many Japanese member have found they can type their comments in Shift-JIS and it would display correctly but it was working only because their browser was set to display Japanese as the default script and their browser detected Shift JIS.
If you have tried to mix Japanese characters along side with Portuguese, you are in big trouble.
The only solution to solve this problem is to support Unicode, more specifically UTF-8.
Many 'made in USA' technology supports only ASCII. Sometime they would display special Latin diactirics or CJK characters(i.e. Chinese, Japanese, Korean) properly. But it is working only accidentally.
Fotolog, just recently, has done something wrong (again) with their server. And now they are not displaying Japanese characters correctly. I see fotolog is losing support from their many Japanese paid members. This was all expected.
And I believe the same would happen with Orkut and many blogs which uses different character codes; many of us have already been experiencing with Trackbacks not displaying properly, etc.
Of course, it's not just the Americans who are to be blamed. I like the new Japanese Social Network Service called Mixi. I think they have done many things right. But they have done one thing wrong and that is they are not based on Unicode. So if I make a bilingual friend who speak both Japanese and Spanish, I cannot send/receive Japanese/Spanish combo messages.
People, wake up! It's the 21st Century and we have to base our code on Unicode!
So orkut, do the right thing before it is too late! Today, some people have alreadt started hacking the system to use Japanese characters; and if you take a look at the Japanese community (at Orkut), you would see it's not only the Japanese who are doing this!
Perhaps, we need a "Unicode" badges for web page and raise awareness about the importance of supporting Unicode.
Orkut is a new Social Network Service backed by Google.
Right now it is in beta testing stage and you have to be invited to join it but I assure it is one of the best in its kind and you will see some of the best people in the information industry there.
I am also expecting it to be the ultimate SPAM free mail service; so I can send/receive all important mails throught it and only launch my mail program occasionally.
Of course, there is one big fault. orkut is not yet Japanese (characters) friendly.