Google Brazil

August 29, 2006 · 2 comments

The Orkut story is heating up in Brazil.  Minutes after I posted the story, Google Inc was on it.  However, the Brazilian Feds are attacking Google Brazil and refusing to talk to Google US, where the servers are actually based.

Brazilians truly see the devil in Orkut because they refuse to release data of their customers.  Facts however:

1. Brazil has no law whatsoever with regards to these matters (free online speech, in which cases user data can be collected, how speech can be prosecuted,…).  No wonder Google is very reluctant to release data of the hundreds, if not thousands ‘cases’.
3. The problem is well beyond Orkut of course.  On it’s own territory many fotolog services are being abused for distributing kiddy porn, selling drugs,… No action whatsoever is taken against those acts.  As I wrote before, the Brazilian government is simply terrified seeing that more then 10% of it’s population is gathered on a US-based platform.  Imagine what would happen in the next president elections in 4 years from here with more then 20% of the Brazilian population on Orkut… This is of course the real issue.  “Orkut was the most visited Web site in Brazil in July, attracting 9.6 billion page views that month, according to IBOPE/NetRatings, a joint venture between the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics and NetRatings. About half of the Web population in Brazil uses Orkut.”
3. It is strange that this matter pops u amidst the elections
4. I wished Brazilians understood that orkut with it’s 94% Brazilian users is actually a liability rather then an asset in the books of Google.  Valuable consumer data?  Don’t make me laugh; iTunes doesn’t even sell (read: is even not allowed to sell) in Brazil.

That being said; I would love if Orkut would close shop; even better: Google pulling it’s complete operations from Brazil.  It would smell as a victory to Brazil at first, but eventually leave the country bedazed disconnected; when reading the tons of international reviews on Brazil’s lacking policies with regards to freedom of speech and basic democratic rights (Brazil is still one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist in; unless you work for Globo of course), the country would have strange memories of the 70’s and 80’s.

 Google intelligence