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Source: media reports

Friends on the move

Friends on the move
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First Published: Thu, Sep 25 2008. 11 54 PM IST

Updated: Thu, Sep 25 2008. 11 54 PM IST
BigAdda
wap.bigadda.com
Part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, BigAdda clearly has the pockets to both fuel its high-octane media campaigns and continuously develop applications to hook users. While the website isn’t everyone’s cup of tea—it is clean and uncluttered to the point of being a tad too sterile for a buzzing social network—simplicity is easy to translate to a mobile version.
Yet, the best thing going for BigAdda’s recently announced mobile version is the option to sign up for a new account. Enter just a few basic details, all easy to do on a mobile interface, and you will be sent a text message, valid only for three days mind you, to confirm your membership.
It may all seem fast and hassle-free but there is a catch. New and returning users have to link their accounts to a mobile phone number. This is not something the other two sites reviewed demanded. If you are wary of privacy issues this could be a cause for concern.
And that, unfortunately, is the highlight of the BigAdda mobile experience. The landing page and the interface overall suffer from the same lack of activity as the regular version does. Doing something as basic as updating your status, something at the heart of a social site, requires clicking a few times through to a “change profile” screen—a complete no-no.
Overall, mobile BigAdda is a valiant start at best. No doubt, the network will savvy up to other, better, international mobile networks over time. But for now, it’s only worth a curious glance.
Orkut
m.orkut.com
After a substantial redesign more than a year ago and greatly expanded functionality, it is clear that Google is taking Orkut very seriously. With a huge user base in India and Brazil, recent developments such as the low bandwidth version with fewer pictures and a mobile version, announced in April, have been welcomed enthusiastically by compulsive Orkut “scrappers”.
The Orkut mobile version is an accomplished adaptation that is easy to get used to for regular Orkut users. Use your regular login and password and you are directly taken to a page with pending friend requests, the three latest entries in your scrapbook, birthdays and, but of course, a status update box. That’s a fair amount of content for a small mobile screen. And the screen isn’t entirely without Orkut’s traditional clutter.
But a good quality mobile browser such as Opera Mini makes short work of scrolling through the page and clicking on links. Friend profiles appear in a nice compact form with convenient links to their scrapbooks, photos and friends.
In other words, the Orkut mobile version is designed to just about get the basic things done. And yes, the “Report abuse” link is there too.
While nothing stands out as a downer, confirming friends on Orkut mobile can be a pain if you have several pending requests. You can only confirm one at a time. Top on Orkut’s list for improvements should be a way to confirm multiple friends in one go.
Facebook
m.facebook.com
Like Orkut, Facebook too unveiled a “new Facebook” version recently, with a more streamlined layout and less clutter on the home page. And the good news is that Facebook has triumphantly been able to adapt the clean, familiar Facebook look to the mobile page as well.
Sign in like you do regularly and immediately land on a page that is scrolls full of content yet extremely pleasing to the eye. Even though the page has a lot of information, and scrolling on slow browsers can be a pain, at no point are you squinting to figure out what’s happening.
The home page allows you to check your new messages, update your status, check the latest three status updates by friends, keep a tab on birthdays and events and, finally, read the latest few entries on your news feeds. And yes, you need to confirm friends individually as in Orkut.
Thanks to a clever combination of colours and fonts, the plethora of content never overwhelms. In fact, the Facebook mobile page was the only one of the three that didn’t make us want to rush back to the original version.
The piece de resistance of mobile Facebook, however, is the Phonebook option—something not so obvious on your computer screen. Click on the Phonebook link on your mobile and you will be presented with a list of friends with their phone numbers. Click on a number to call and get in touch with people the old-fashioned way.
Bottom line : Facebook mobile works like a dream, Orkut is not bad and BigAdda better be paying attention.
All websites were checked on Opera Mini 4.1 browser on a Nokia 6681 mobile phone
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First Published: Thu, Sep 25 2008. 11 54 PM IST