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Hello: A new social network founded by Orkut's creator (orkut.com)
234 points by TheAuditor 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 206 comments

The social network I'd like to try is this:

* Funded by subscriptions.

* Free from ads.

* Since it is not ad dependent, yes, it can also provide a chronological timeline.

* Two post types supported: Text and Photo. Because sometimes a photo does tell a thousand words.

* Links to websites not supported in posts. Avoids viral proliferation of dumbed down politics, fake news, or stupid memes. If you want to get to the web or read the news, don't use a social network. They're here for you to be social. As in talk. Chat. Write things about your day. Ask others about their day. You get the picture. Being social.

* Shares or "retweets" not supported. Also to disrupt viral spreading of stuff that is almost never about socializing, and nowadays instead disturbingly often about wanting to be virally spread as a goal in itself.

* And finally... "Likes" not supported. You don't chat with friends at a café to get nods, right? You chat because you have something to say. If what you post is never commented on, yes, you can take it as a hint that you have little interesting to say. You can then choose to ignore that, or not. Comments, a will by others to interact, were always the true "like" anyway. If you write to be "liked", as many on Facebook do, you write for the wrong reasons, at least on a SOCIAL network.

Since it is funded by subscriptions, it ought to lift the quality by this fact alone. Less shitposting. I guess one might say I want a social network. I have yet to see one that is just a social network.

> Funded by subscriptions

This sounds like it might be a good idea because it seems like it would remove the incentive to monetize personal information, but in practice it creates a barrier to adoption and makes the social network kinda useless.

I joined a subscription-based social network that was designed for expats [1]. It was by all-accounts well-designed, well-managed and had everything going for it. But no one in my circles are part of it, and the event lists were really thin because the network was really thin (and I live in one of the largest cities in the U.S.). It does "work" for some definitions of work, but it isn't very successful (though there seems to be enough people on it to make it sustainable--I wonder about retention rates past year 1).

I suspect the things on your list were conceived based on your circumscribed experiences and are not what the general market really wants. It could work in a more niche setting, but you'd have a hard time scaling the business model.

[1] https://www.internations.org/

> in practice it creates a barrier to adoption and makes the social network kinda useless

The main thing is that you're trying to bootstrap new cultural norms. If there weren't so much inertia around free services, people would probably be fine paying a few bucks per month for certain classes of services.

I've always thought it would be a great idea to fund message boards, communities, etc., by keeping track of users' individual resource usage and making that info visible to them.

GitHub is free for most, for example, and others pay for some extra perks. But even then, the price structure comes off as pretty arbitrary.

Since Patreon became a thing, I've seen some people set up funding goals that take the form of explaining that it takes, say, ~$85 per month to cover the costs of running servers, but that doesn't really accomplish what I'm talking about, since it's still too easy to treat it as a shared commons.

A running sum is able to make the point unambiguously; it says something along the lines of, "because of the requests we had to handle to serve your use of the site, we are now on the hook for paying $2.74 so far this month". If you're a magnanimous admin, you can continue operating free services, but just "soft bill" people with a pay-what-you-want scheme (by which I mean guilt them). If you're actually trying to cover costs you do hard billing, but offer the first year free or something, which also removes one of the barriers of getting started—so long as we're operating on the assumption that we've already managed to establish it as a new cultural norm.

Resource-proportionate billing also has the nice side benefit of getting people to be more conscious of wasting time on the site—breaking the cycle of idly refreshing the home page to procrastinate.

Right, it's not really a social "network" if it is just a collection of individuals, and charging individuals creates a barrier to network effects, especially with upfront subscription decisions as an immediate hurdle.

What you most likely really want for a self-sustaining social network is community funding where some self-clustering communal unit (the finding of which might be hard as here too you likely want communities to network and organically overlap together) is encouraged to grow organically as a network and raise funds together.

You can somewhat see experiments in this space in the Mastodon world where some instances try to define community boundaries, and find ways to together pay instance hosting costs.

Community funding as a topic also brings up the question of tax-funded as an option or even a necessity. Are social networks a public good? Are they maybe the true "highways" of the internet that should be governed as such?

A subscription doesn't necessarily have to be a barrier to new users. You could offer basic functionality for free with a subscription to unlock extra features. This sort of model has been very successful in other areas.

The freemium model is exactly what Internations uses. It's free to join but you have to pay to unlock certain features [1]. Unfortunately the market already has free alternatives (e.g. Meetup.com, Eventbrite, Slack.com etc.) that are more mainstream, have a larger inventory of events and people (network effect again), and that work better so it's pretty hard to provide a sufficiently differentiated product worth paying for.

[1] https://www.internations.org/support/faq/membership

It looks like Internations locks up basic functionality rather than bonus features. You can't have much of a social network if you can't "join groups and attend their activities"

I'm not super familiar with Meetup or Eventbrite, but Slack is freemium too.

Discord App does this really nicely. They keep their platform free for basic usage but you've to buy the bling. A vain, yet fun, spending keeps the platform alive.

People buy glittery items like make overs, buttons, or GIFs (not sure), very similar to what reddit gives you when you're gilded.

Probably, a social network can sell virtual tractors & houses to keep their platform alive.

Why do people have to pay for themselves? I’d pay for me and my social circle.

I’m sure there are lots of people who would pay for their friends. Most people have like 4 good friends, max, anyways. The rest are really just acquaintances, who may be on the network because someone else sponsored them.

And that’s how it can start off. Me and my close friends. I don’t really talk to the whole world so I don’t need the whole world on it. But if I have an acquaintance who is on the platform then great, we can connect on there, too.

And it doesn’t have to be a ridiculous sum. The company can still be very profitable with charging only $1/person/month. With 5 people that’s $60/yr. Facebook makes ~$25 per person in the US and Canada. That works out to 1/5 of facebook’s per-person profit. If a company made 1/5 of facebook’s profit (at facebooks scale), it would be an incredibly successful business.

Plus, facebook has a bunch of crappy UI that exists for the sole purpose of shipping ads. Without the incentive to ship ads to the user, the experience for the users would be waaaaay better. And without the need to collect and analyze so much data about each user, and then manage an ad distribution platform on top of that, the costs of running the platform would be lower.

I wonder how much of this problem is based in the subscription, or being satisfied with how existing networks already work? It's sad how current Facebook is seen as still not having enough disadvantages to it that they outweigh the advantages from a big following.

This seems to be such a key factor that you have to almost intentionally wreck the network for people to eventually, reluctantly, leave.

How about a model, where it is free to join and then you pay for extra storage or something. Sort of like iCloud.

I wonder if a 60 or 90 day free period would help [0]. This would allow you to invite people, who could then themselves try it out. After the free period if enough of your circle decided to stay, you could too.

[0] I feel 30 would be to short to round everyone up and get them to actually try it.

Amazon could probably make this happen as part of the prime membership. Seems like a natural next step given they've already got the photo portion covered

Except that Prime members still see ads and their data is still collected.

Facebook makes something like $25 per user on average. I’d pay that to Facebook if it meant no advertising and no tracking all year.

That's only in the US and Canada, globally it's more something like $5.

And you and I (and probably some more people of HN) would pay that. But 99% of the 2 billion people that use FB wouldn't.

I wouldn't pay a single dollar.

Case in point :-)

I wish it could at least be an option for those who'd prefer this way.

Definitely, agree. Like YouTube Red.

Wow. I thought the subscription fee of my suggestion might be problematic, as in too high. But if true, this is just plain ridiculous. That would also give you a chronological timeline and a much quicker way to sift through your feed and know when you're "done" than now.

Disabling links to websites in posts for the sake of preventing fake news is kind of sad. I get why but it feels like punishing the majority for the minority of bad actors. It’s also still possible to spread fake news without a link.

Anyways, this is your ideal network and so please disregard my opinion on how it should work :)

Shameless plug: - https://socii.network - https://hub.socii.network

I’m working on a social network that does most of what you mentioned. I never thought about reposts being a quick and easy way of stopping the spread of viral misinformation, I like that idea.

Looks interesting, I'm taking a look!

When most people think of social networks, they think of a way to connect with friends and family - not a way of discussing interesting issues (i.e. forums).

"Funded by subscriptions" more or less guarantees the former will not happen. People want stuff for free.

>Shares or "retweets" not supported. Also to disrupt viral spreading of stuff that is almost never about socializing, and nowadays instead disturbingly often about wanting to be virally spread as a goal in itself.

Sadly, reshares are part and parcel of a community - even before the days of the Internet. For many, gossip is part of socializing. A friend posted that he's just getting married. People will want to spread the word. How can they without reshares? Rewrite it themselves? Resharing is simply part of usual human interaction.

> Links to websites not supported in posts.

That seems, with all due respect, bananas. There are loads of reasons to have a link in your post, not least because you may use a third party photo host and you want to link to your holiday snaps without having to copy everything everywhere.

Even ignoring that though, you can't share recipes, tracks on youtube, programming blog posts, a cool pair of shoes, a link to a book your friend has been looking for for years...?

Links are the web, it would feel hollow without them.

I know. You lose these things, and I'd prefer that one wouldn't have to go there. But my experience of Facebook and Twitter has shown that a very large part of the links posted are to memes and politics and trying to prove people wrong, win Internet battles, or to show how great you are because you are linking to the latest new diets.

It is so rare to actually see people post "Here's the recipe for a great cake that I, myself, made today!" or "Here's the latest program that I have made!" or "Here's an excerpt of a new book I'm writing!" It's what I'd expect to see on a social network, but don't. Social networks to me have become strangely disconnected from the real personal lives. It's a filtered view and I think links exemplify it in the worst way. They're impersonal and often just point to random articles online. I've also found that I get more comments on text posts than links. People don't seem to even open them very often.

I can see a compromise though. Allow communities, like Facebook Groups, where links are allowed to be posted. So people can join food groups, programming groups, and so on. That way, you still avoid all the junk links and flooding your feed with e.g the latest makeup tips, while still opening channels for people who are interested in these things.

There could be two kinds of communities, too. Location-based communities (based on geolocation, a la Jodel) and interest based communities. I've found that location based communities can fill quite an interesting niche! People don't know each other, but what they discuss is all relatable, and if you travel, you can quickly get tips about the area, too.

It touches on another problem I have with Facebook and many other social networks. They assume that just because we have some sort of relationship with each other, maybe work, maybe old friends, maybe family, we may still not share interests. It's not always shared interests that make me follow people, but to just stay in touch.

More importantly,links can be used to prove a post is not fake news, i.e. cite your sources

Well, I'd have nothing against links in comments either.

My issue is really the spreading of viral links, fun and memes, or inflammatory posts, all that have become so common with time at least in my feed.

This seems like a reaction to Facebook. Almost no one cares about this enough to create " good Facebook. Here in India millions of barely educated people enjoy Facebook to keep up with family and friends. They don't know how to pay for things online and are not comfortable putting their cards on the internet.

I think you are conflicting what people want with what people would use!

Also: feeds are not ranked because of monetization...they are ranked because they work better that way

I don't know if feeds really work better that way. There are people I wish I was still following on Facebook because I'd like to get the highlights of what happens to them (moves, deaths, other important life events) but I had to drop them because they post trivial shit that gets dozens or hundreds of likes. Reactions were designed to help with that problem (sad news can get sad reactions so it can get elevated the same way a "liked" post can) but people still get more sad reactions when they post a link to a news article about pollution or kids dying in a car crash in another country than when they announce that they themselves have a serious illness.

I wish there was a social network that could somehow avoid people competing to post the highest volume of popular content, so they could relax and focus on posting information about themselves that other people want to know. But even if you were somehow able to force people to just post about themselves, no third-party content, there are plenty of people who would make a meal of it by posting endless videos about their grooming regimen, their cooking, or cute stuff their cat does. It all just devolves into competing for attention. Hmmm.

How about a social network in which everybody is guaranteed equal exposure, and posting more content only dilutes your own content, not everybody else's?

Whatever system Facebook was using to determine the contents of your feed back when Facebook was more enjoyable for you would probably still be the best system to use now. Someone clever should just recreate the Facebook from 2000's that everyone liked, call it something else and give the UI/UX a long-overdue upgrade.

You raise some good points...a ranked feed is certainly also not perfect...but at least you got the flexibility to do all the things you proposed.

I could be wrong but it already exists and it's getting traction: https://www.vero.co/

It's not perfect, nor does it hit all your points but it's a start (of a trend at the very least)


From the outside, Vero just seems like it's going to be a portal to a bunch of corporate services.

>Your friend just shared this cool Spotify song, please sign up for Spotify at Vero's special rate of $3.99 / month to listen.

Even on the landing page there is an advertisement for me to order a photo book of Prince.

This does not seem very social, it's just more hyped up media.

Yes, I'm actually on Vero! I'm a bit concerned about the backing (the people behind it) and their ideas about funding but hey... It's at least something, it's a try to fix maybe especially Instagram. I'll never be all too hard on people trying to fix things.

I'd add to that:

- Decentralized

- Designed with strong privacy and anonymity of its users in mind

Anonymity? Why be on a social network at all in that case? You might as well just maintain a blog.

Most of my friends appear to strongly want to have multiple personas on social networks: one per major hobby, one for family, one professional, etc.

People could still use nicks.

That's basically what the old internet and old BBS systems were like, before anyone cared to track and spy on their users.


Please don't cross into personal attack in HN comments.


I support subscription funding but most of the rest sounds terrible. When I go scuba diving and post underwater photos on Facebook the likes are useful feedback on whether or not I'm taking good pictures and help me improve as an amateur photographer. Plus I enjoy it when people share my photos. It makes the world a brighter place and hopefully encourages viewers not to trash the ocean.

You might like this Mastodon instance: https://photog.social

Mhh, why not go with a kickstarter style payment scheme? Have a campaign to fund the operating budget, another one to fund feature a and another one to fund feature b. You get user aligned prioritization for free while users are happy to be able to choose their level of support. Can’t believe I haven’t seen this model in action, yet!

You could set up a Mastodon instance to do exactly this. Why not try and see if there are others who like the model?

That seems like a very peculiar choice, and meant people won't like such a social network. This may reduce the most important factor of social networks, People.

I accomplish most of this (other than no-links-allowed) with iMessage threads with friends.

What you're saying sounds basically like chat.

It doesn't satisfy a number of the person's requirements.

sounds substantially similar to IRC. if text is supported, i don’t see how retweets and links could be blocked. so if you accept that you can’t prevent those things (except by user agreement), it sounds like slack fits the bill.

It exists and is called WhatsApp.

Check Vero

It will never work. Nobody will pay - no users.

Remember app.net?

Maybe the price was too high, I wonder if people would pay something like a dollar a month billed annually, or really cover costs and charge $19/year

Discord Nitro seems to be doing well, but no info on if it covers their costs.

Whilst the founder has credibility in this space, I don't see what the problem is they are solving. There are many communities all across the internet, and also in centralised places like Facebook & reddit. Forums still remain hugely popular for niche community operators.

The only way social is going to work and be improved going forward is through decentralisation and taking our data out of the hands of a central repository where it can be used to target us, and is more vulnerable to breaches. Once we have that baseline the other problems can be solved by the communities themselves.

I don’t understand the decentralized part of your comment. There’s a reason Facebook and perhaps AOL before it was successful - it’s easy and everyone is there.

I’m a huge privacy advocate but the decentralized Facebook alternatives are a little wonky for most to get their heads around. Jane Average user could care less about blockchain hosted personal data. In most cases Jane just wants Facebook and is a little worried about what’s happening to her data. Facebook maybe more than any other alternative is in the best position to solve the user problem here.

Decentralized is the only way to know for sure your data is not being treated server-side against your wishes. This will certainly be the future of the social internet.

However, blockchain is absolutely not the only decentralization support, and might be the worst candidate to store data ever. If your comment about that was not a joke, then maybe you should actualize your knowledge on decentralized algorithms (for example, strong consensus as in the blockchain can be achieved using stellar consensus protocol, and many decentralized services work perfectly using peer to peer technology - not only file sharing).

Also, I find your comment about "Jane Average" quite inappropriate. Anyone can understand it's bad to give too much power to companies whose interests are financial. Moreover, it's inacurate : the current scandal and outfire against Facebook mostly comes from "Jane Average" people, and not the technical community who's mostly saying "we already knew it".

>Decentralized is the only way to know for sure your data is not being treated server-side against your wishes. This will certainly be the future of the social internet.

As a society, we are not even close to being there. There isn't a single person I personally know who has decided to leave Facebook for this reason.

>Moreover, it's inacurate : the current scandal and outfire against Facebook mostly comes from "Jane Average" people, and not the technical community who's mostly saying "we already knew it".

Frankly, I see little evidence of this. It seems mostly coming from activists.

> blockchain is absolutely not the only decentralization support, and might be the worst candidate to store data ever

Thank you! Was about to reply the same thing when I read that comment.

> for example, strong consensus as in the blockchain can be achieved using stellar consensus protocol

I don't really think a social network needs that much consensus. Not for personal data anyway. As you control your own data, there is no need for consensus with others :)

I agree. The whole issue with the first decentralised networks at the moment are their usability and accessibility to the average person. There’s a lot of work to be done on this. There are 1000s of people tackling the problem globally from the protocol level to the user interfaces.

My point is these networks will and need to replace the centralised social model which is what this new network is.

I don't really see the decentralized argument. I believe it's meant to solve a noble intent but in reality for a network to be successful all the information has to be readily available. You can't have a social network that says "Hey, thanks for posting about your birthday... we'll ensure it filters out to all nodes within at least 21 days".

So if all information has to be accessible and any node has access to all of it, or can aggregate it over time, then it's effectively centralized. Not to mention multiple nodes means anyone can tap into the information stream for whatever purpose.

So I see a case where centralization is somewhat critical but with tighter controls over what that data can be used for. Facebook was a headlong charge into new territory in information management and now I think we need to step back and examine how we better manage that.

That said I've spent about as much time thinking on it in depth as I have writing this post so I may be missing something quite obvious.

this. First, the thing that none of the decentralize advocates recognize is that outside of HN and the tech community, no one cares! When you mention the word "decentralized" to Joe Schmo of the world, you already lost him. He has no idea what you're talking about and doesn't care.

Second, there is no way that a decentralized social network is going to have the quality and feature development that a centralized company will have. There is a reason people build great things in this world from buildings, to widgets, to software etc. It's called incentive. Capitalism drives innovation and it's a requirement to have the quality of product that is needed to draw eyeballs off existing platforms.

Lastly, I don't buy the argument that centralized companies can't be responsible with data. Do we trust banks to hold our money? The future is not decentralized social networks.

> Jane Average user could care less about blockchain hosted personal data.

Agreed, but judging from the last few weeks, Jane Average apparently does care:

- they have control over their data

- can see the stuff they want

- and can have good blocking tools

Which all require decentralisation (in latter case because open APIs hurt monopolies).

End users don't care about data structures in any system, centralised or not.

Can Jane Average understand how email works? Because that's really all their is to understand about distributed social networks: you own your data, but if you send someone a message you should consider it public (could be shared/forwarded to anyone) unless you trust the recipient not to share it.

I am not really sure what you are talking about...a email account consists of either emails you received or emails you sent.

So naturally for all your emails you have in your inbox the sender has them in their outbox...and every email you sent also exists as a copy in somebody else’s inbox.

And you can’t control whether the other parties host their own email server or if they use a hosted service...in which case, guess what: now a third party also has a copy.

Now to hosting your own email server...who is gonna stop your Datacenter from obtaining a copy of your emails? They call it backups ;)

It’s easy to talk to your Barista about decentralization and blockchain as the solution to privacy...but actually making that a reality is not.

And we haven’t even touched on spam...how you gonna fight that in a decentralized network? How about bots?

I could go on but I hope you get the picture.

spam filters work pretty well for email these days. are you suggesting that effective spam filtering mandates a centralized single-company controls-everything architecture for email? why social networks?

Spam filters work well because they are centralized! It requires a lot of data to train the ML models...its not just a static blacklist

Nope, lots of effective anti-spam tools are open source and take advantage of crowd-sourced spam analysis. I remain unconvinced of the need for one company to control it.

> Whilst the founder has credibility in this space, I don't see what the problem is they are solving.

I imagine his problem is: he wants to make money :)

The problem it solves is Google+ lol.

troll. Orkut was a big thing before G+ came along; wouldn't be surprised if that one sucked up some of orkut's users, then lost interest and never returned to orkut, going to Facebook instead.

The founder has an amazing history, and the description of Hello is enticing but vague of what differentiates it.

None of that matters for me though, because when I attempted to sign up from my laptop I got the message 'Sorry, we're mobile only'. I see no compelling reason to be mobile-only at full launch. Mobile-first for your MVP with early adopters, yes that makes a great deal of sense. But when a company does a full launch I think they should support as many of the major platforms as they can (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS).

Also, I am not convinced that we need yet another social media company (YASMC, "Yazz-em-see"?) that is centralized and will by necessity make money by monetizing attention.

Cal Newport thinks social protocols are the answer, as he discusses in http://calnewport.com/blog/2018/03/20/on-social-media-and-it.... I agree. I worked on this as the OASIS XDI technical committee co-chair for a while, and am working on something new now.

I agree as well that protocols would be the answer. I don't believe in it though. There are two very large groups of people who make every attempt in this direction fail. Yes, even things that apparently succeeded already (like email) are always fighting an uphill battle against these two groups.

Group one are the Trumps and Putins. The guys who want to control everything. They always want to centralize everything with themselves standing at the top. Sadly a lot of people with power/money are like that.

Group two are the dont-care folks. The ones that sign up to every next facebook because they don't care if their data is misused. The ones that make jokes about Zuckerberg today, but still use FB. They won't put up with the slightest bit of uncoolness or usability discomfort no matter what harm it does to their freedoms.

Sadly both these groups work very well together. Basically I gave up hope that anything reasonable can be achieved as long as both these exist. There's only the option to join either group and live with what these groups bring with them.

to be fair, usually it's not just the "slightest bit of... usability discomfort" but an enormous chunk. (e.g. Mastodon is hilariously complicated and difficult to understand for me and I can't even imagine trying to get my friends to use it.)

Being mobile-only ensures that the network will only consist of pictures and low-effort posts. That's fine, there's a bigger market for Instagram competitors than for social networks with substance. But between that and the video that consisted almost solely of liking cat pictures makes it obvious that it's not for me.

It seems quite a bit like reddit. Just subscribe to outdoorsy and cat subreddits and you've got it

Yeah, as someone who carries neither iOS or Android devices, app only social networks won't ever pick me up.

It's worse... Once you've signed up through mobile, you can use it from any browser. Makes you wonder why it wants you to sign up on mobile... Wants your phone number? Wants access to you contacts?

A perfectly good explanation is deterring spammers.

I'm frankly not interested to be part of an exclusive social media thing where only people who have phones can participate.

I recommend you check out what a click farm looks like: https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=click%20farm

I know what they look like, but I also know about services like Sift Science. I used "deterring" rather than stronger words for a reason. On a couple of former teams, I had to deal occasionally with spammer scum.

Mobile only signup does nothing to deter spammers.

Easy enough to fake your user agent. Or is it a native app with extra security / checks?

I thought we were talking about phone numbers. They're not impossible to obtain in bulk, but that's much harder than faking user agents.

If they wanted to verify my phone number, text me a code. That isn't a problem. It's the app install requirement we're talking about. Which both gives them access to some data on your phone, and also means only Android and iOS users can sign up.

(On Android, Hello gets access to your contacts, your rough location, the ability to read and modify your storage, use your camera, and view your Wi-Fi connections)

Read and Modify Storage and Camera permissions are needed so that it can take pictures, presumably to post (Why so many Android apps think they need to be their own camera instead of just dumping out to the user's preferred camera app I'll never understand). Everything else seems pretty sketchy.

Well, and as you point out, the camera permission is arguably completely specious. Android should, if I recall, also have a photo picker so you can select a single photo to give to the app, rather than giving it global access to your stuff.

I understand why it wants contacts, to make it easy to add people, but again, it can be done in a "let the OS offer the contact picker" way, if we're making a privacy-respecting app.

If Google is expected to be the steward of protecting users, they should not allow apps on the Play Store which don't use the most privacy-respecting method possible to implement the needed functionality.

What else? I assume that the whole reddit thing is the same. Install our app so we can suck your phone dry of your personal data.

You do not need to install the reddit apps ever. You can sign up, and use it, through their web interface.

In fact when I use reddit from my phone (through Firefox) I force it to use the non-mobile version as I find it much faster (as long as you open every link in a new tab).

So websites now no longer simply want new users, they want unique,verified users.

I understand the need for such verification when a webmaster wants to prevent easy re-registrations of trolls and/or banned members, and it's still better than Google's invite only system for when they release something big like gmail or g+, but it's a dark pattern all the way.

They pick you up because at least some, if not most of your friends are using app-only social networks that have access to their contacts and phone books. A few matching entries with your phone number and they have you pegged with a very high degree of certainty and connected to more than just your phone number and text messages. Everything your friends have in their contact info for you (birthday, email, home address, work address, family members, etc.). Obviously the same thing is true for your SMS/MMS messages that are sent to friends with app-only social networks which have access to their messages and call info. In the end you're giving away most of the same data, the difference is that you're just unable to benefit from it in the same way that you could with an Android or iOS device.

My hope is that killer apps will be used [1] more and more for decentralized platforms. Much like email became so popular - and still in use - I hope we eventually get to a state where centralized silos/platforms are thought of as silly; sort of what the AOL walled garden was.

[1] I stated "used" because there are plenty of apps (and underlying networks) related to decentralized social platforms that are already developed and in existence...more people simply have to make use of them.

> social protocols are the answer

While true, they probably won't be the first answer. You need a some of these networks with real traction (or at least one huge one) so they can derive a protocol from the greatest common factors between them. To preemtively make a protocol sans popular implementation has little value and often ends in low adoption. As we've learned, the success of a protocol is more about its popularity than its presence or quality. So I say let these networks gestate and once the market (of people, not money) starts picking winners, then begin your abstraction.

And for those (of us) working on solutions to this problem space now, keep going. You don't need a committee or standards doc or whatever. You just need an awesome impl.

Native app support might be too much to ask, but at least a webapp should be a major part of the launch time product.

It's fairly trivial to build a webapp around APIs that they've probably already developed for android/ios apps, so it's hard to forgive them for not having it ready by now.

Accessing Facebook through a Chrome/Chromium browser on an Android device allows you to make an app on your homescreen that's not nearly as invasive as the mobile app. That being said, the main difference will be improved battery life and less background processes running, as they'll gather most of your data from your friends on the receiving end of texts/calls/etc who are using the mobile app.

It's been around for a bit less than 2 years

It was launched in 2016. I guess it didn’t get much traction at the time to justify further development.

> hello is the first social network built on loves, not likes.

Ah, ok.

Game changer. Ugh, hate to be down on this product because I'm sure it had a lot of work into it but ... this just feels so disingenuous

It's strange, in all this anti-socialnetwork craze, I'm craving a social network.

As it stands, I love the concept of a social network. I want a platform that facilitates at arms length socialization, because I'm rarely that in-person social with most of the people I know. A social network fills that need nicely. Yet, with that said, I don't want centralization or obvious control over the information flow and ultimately how we think/interact.

I feel like a scuttlebutt[1]-like solution is the answer, but I think it needs a bit more features. Like editing, web usage from federated platforms, etc.

[1]: https://www.scuttlebutt.nz

I really like Scuttlebutt but there are still quite a few rough edges.

I don't really like that pubs work by me following them and them following me. When I open Patchwork most of my feed for any given channel is filled with notifications of people subscribing to that channel rather than actual posts.

But I do really like the adhoc, decentralized nature of it.

Orkut was so popular in some parts of the world like India that I always wondered why Google thought it better to shut it down. All those orkut users moved to Facebook & made Facebook a hugely popular platform. I hope the same does not happen with Hello.

I am still trying to figure out why Orkut was more popular in India.

Brazilian here. I miss Orkut a lot, enjoyed much more than FB. I had the sense that Orkut lost a lot of users in Brazil right after "The Social Network" hit the brazilian movie theathers. Everyone jumped in the hype then.

It was really popular in Brazil, too. It would be cool if they just open sourced it, or launched Orkut the 2005 edition with security patches today. I would use it if it was web only.

The 2005 version is pretty trivial: each profile has friends, a scrapbook (known on FB as wall), and up to 12 pictures; Communities (forums) have topics and topics have posts. That's it. Any junior dev can build it on Rails/Django.

The tricky part is scaling it. The original version as a .NET app and it couldn't handle the number of simultaneous users.

I think Orkut was the first available one in Brazil. It got popular because it was new and had no competition.

I remember trying it out, but it was so so slow. Thats pretty much the only thing I remember about it.

The service looks like a ripoff of Instagram (loves, not likes) and Reddit (communities). What problem is the site exactly trying to solve? I had to spend the better part of a month trying to hound my friends to use Signal. I am not going to waste time for a service that's not even worth the effort.

Regarding communities, this was one of the strongest features from Orkut. I remember having lots of fun hunting niches/bizares communities (and not so much fun when I found out some communities I was part of got sold/traded, and then got renamed to something completely different, mostly for advertising purposes).


Everyone thinks that the main competitor for building communities is Facebook.com. But fbook.com does not build communities, they digitize existing ones.

So all these new apps come out with "better facebooks" not realizing (or accepting) that they already exist as Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram. These existing platforms are very good at true connection and community building.

How does "Hello" fit into that?

Not sure why this has been posted here. The app is nearly abandoned and dead at this point.

I know we all want alternatives to the status quo, but you're not going to find it among a bunch of copycat services that haven't solved any of the fundamental problems causing us so much trouble today.

Weird, there seem to be two android apps for it, one old one with a quite low rating (3.3 / 5): https://www.appbrain.com/app/hello-com/com.hello.application and one launched 3 weeks ago: https://www.appbrain.com/app/hello-com/com.hello.network

I hate to say this, but it's either a terrible landing page or terrible product I'm seeing here.

I totally admire the effort to bring back Orkut, but I don't see any value proposition that makes me want to try this out other than some philosophical words that anyone can say.

In fact, I have never seen a product introduced in these philosophical ways succeed. The only signal I get from this is that the creator is naive (No offense, I'm sure the creator is insightful as he's the one who created one of the earliest social networks in the world, but just saying that's not what the copy on the website is signaling).

If you believe in "love, not likes", I would like to see HOW you implemented it. Otherwise there are tons of social networks out there each with its own twist in "connecting with people with similar interests".

Maybe there's more to the product than what the website says, and if that's the case, you should show that instead.

I wish the blog post had dates because from the comments I don't know if it's the hello thing from Google, a relaunch or and old blog post showcasing something that failed years ago.

The first thing I thought was "that's cool, how do you plan on keeping the servers on?"

The creator is not naive, but he/she/they are aiming to capture naive people.

Honestly, I don't think I want to join any other free "social network" after what happened and still happens at Facebook. I would be okay to pay for a social network that respect my privacy and that would be limited in features like status, photos and groups.

This is also a comically bad time to release yet another social network, as you've pointed out with the current atmosphere surrounding Facebook.

I think many people would, depending on the price. But I think the other big thing is, "Will my friends be on it?"

> hello is the first social network built on loves, not likes.

I'm sorry, but this sounds like a joke to me. Loves instead of likes? Is this the first thing you want to say about your born again social network.

> I designed hello to help you connect with people who share your passions.

Sound very much like the “Facebook has always been about helping people make connections” mantra.

So, I guess it's Facebook with loves and mobile app only... Say what you want about Mastodon, but at least it's a real alternative.

I thought the same, but the portuguese version of the text offer a different view:

> hello is the first social network build on profound friendships instead of 'likes'.

So maybe it is a social network whose focus is people you really know well instead of companies and random people? I dunno, it's still very vague.

I checked and you're right. For launching an entire product, they're really dropping the ball in the first sentence.

I read the English to imply that the network is based on your "loves" (passions, hobbies, goals) but the Portuguese makes it pretty obvious that's not right at all. I have a hard time interpreting the English in any way that matches the Portuguese version.

>a social network whose focus is people you really know well instead of companies and random people

Funny, that was FB's advantage over MySpace. But, I suppose FB found it too limiting to only monetize real relationships.

The idea of the platform is to connect you based on interests. Do you love hiking? They will connect you with hikers.

It sounds like Pinterest to me.

The initial release was in 2016. The post on the home page is from 2017. They are all over the news today... good timing I guess.

Yes! I was doing the math from that "13 years ago...".

Anyway, it sounds like a very short time for something that was created, became a such relevant part of my life and all my friends, then disappeared.

If asked from top of mind, I would say it was founded 20 years ago.

Founded in 2004, existed for 10 years. I believe this was the first mass adoption by Brazilians that was noticeable worldwide, right?

I miss communities with names like “Eu abro a geladeira pra pensar” (from Brazilian Portuguese: I open the fridge to think). I haven’t seen any social media allow names and topics like that and present them in the same way that orkut did. Orkut was all about communities in a way that neither facebook or reddit are. They were part of your identity in the network. Those were nice years.

Wholeheartedly agree. Maybe it is just nostalgy, but there was something special in these communities that Facebook Groups and Subreddits just don't have it.

I was part (in pt-BR): "I thought it was ice cream but it was beans" and "I like coke without gas".

It is something about signaling your identity online that is less pretentious, it takes itself less seriously than what you see today on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

It also wasn't as vicious as the informal forums like 4Chan and some subreddits. These take themselves very seriously in conforming to the "let's not take ourselves too seriously" culture.

It is hard to determine if it was the product or the current overall internet culture at the time that was responsible for this more healthy (IMO) environment.

But having Orkut in my college years certainly made be a happier person.

Some coverage from 2016:


Today's news burst seems to be that Hello has launched in India.

Mobile only? No thanks.

More tracking metrics for them to consume on mobile, I suppose.

Ditto. It's still an open question how open and accessible to end users the Internet will be. Anything browser-based still has that potential. Well, except on iOS where the browser doesn't permit augmentation.

Aye, had the same thought here. I'd've signed up to check it out. I don't own a mobile... Even if I did, I'd not download an app on spec. WebApp gives an opportunity to sell yourself with no additional buy-in.

If they're looking to capitalise on FB's data revelations, asking to download binaries is the wrong way to go about it. You need a no-commitment approach here.

This is very confusing. Your landing page is available in German, but the app is not available in Germany. Ratings in the Play Store are horrible, and support responds to bad reviews in the wrong language (English Review, Spanish response). The "download page" is 50% India and 50% all other countries. What is special about hello? After 2min on the website, I have no idea. And if I did not know orkut already, I would be soooo lost by the copy.

Probably because Orkut was hugely popular in 2 countries. India and Brazil.

India probably dominates the downloads due to population differences.

It's the same with Turkish. There is a text in Turkish on orkut.com, but the app hello is not available in iOS App Store in Turkey.

So I got curious and download the app. Start setting it app and... lo and behold the app tells me that I already have an account. Fair enough I tend to try all new thing BUT . . . there's no way for me to log onto the account, the one and only option that appears in the app is to create a new account.


Previously on Hacker News in 2016 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12231101

With all of the news about Facebook hijacking content from mobile phones I do wish all of these new social networks would come with a website I can use, at least to test the waters

I tried Hello once it was launched, hopeful that it would be a viable alternative to facebook which would gain traction because of Orkut's name. I really tried to like it, but I gave up because it didn't have a way to find my real life friends back then. I don't know about now. But when I looked at it, it was all about connecting via shared interests, and apparently they didn't want me to search for people by name.

You know, no network is made for "hate" per se. The problem is that hate from the outside looks like love on the inside.

You see this most clearly in conservative v liberal tribalism, but that example is so close to most people you may not see it.

Even the most horrible "haters" feel they are protecting or preserving their secularism/race/religion/political opinion etc

I didn't know that Google shut down Orkut. Why did they shut down a network with such a large userbase? Was it focused on dating?

Google don’t care about shutting down products with large user base. Like Google Reader.

iirc, lawsuits and people started to migrate to Facebook.

iirc, it was just a business decision to focus on Google+ and other efforts. A bad one in my opinion though.

One of the problems I've seen with FB is invisible followers. A whole bunch of people, possibly very famous people could be following you and you'd never know it. (same with IG)

There must be user-levels on FB, and FB might even be charging money to their most privileged users for various rights you couldn't imagine. Even getting a verified account could cost a lot of money, who knows?

add: actually I just imagined what rights they have: IP theft, made legal.

As soon as you upload something to FB and IG (a photo or text,) it belongs to FB, right?

So say you upload a photo and some famous person likes it and copies it 99% of the way, but they have the permission to do that from FB then it's not theft, right?

But there must be a guilty conscience otherwise why hide the famous person from doing the following in the first place? It's a leaching mentality. You've walked through the jungle and got some leaches stuck to you. Whose fault is that?

App not available on the iTunes store in my country, Romania.

I don't get why app developers feel the need to add restrictions like that. Don't they need early adopters?

Also it's mobile only at this point. While I understand why, another app that's supposed to increase my mobile addiction won't change the world and is not going to win me over, sorry.

Nowadays, whenever I read about any new for-profit social network platform, no matter what their new twist is, my gut reaction is to feel as if they're asking:

"Please give your data to us instead of Facebook, Google, or the other usual suspects."

> The more interactions your contributions generate, the more likely you will become a persona leader.

> Each milestones, unlock rewards, and add layers of fun to your social connections as you venture through hello.

I thought we wanted to move away from gamified social interaction

I think we are beyond the point where services can lead with being a social network and succeed. Every service that supports multi-user interaction is a network, and every network that supports personal expression in its interactions is a social network.

A service that is, as this is billed, just a social network, with no clear defining feature or problem it’s solving, is vapid and akin to the dotcom bubble.

I’m finding that “social networks” should be a consequence of a product that solves a real problem, not that product’s raison d’etre. And furthermore, given the data collection/privacy zeitgeist of late, I’m of the belief that a social network developing within your service is a liability.

Hear hear.

While I agree with your main points I would object to your objection that someone can't launch a social network in and of itself. But I do think if you're going to launch a social network you're going to have to tell me how to differentiate your product from all the other products out there.

From reading the comments here I think a new social network needs to say the following up front:

  - closed or open source?
  - centralised or decentralised? federated or not?
  - up-front fee, subscription service or paid for by advertising?
  - privacy policy, what is it? share with 3rd party?
  - is there an API? how granular is it?
  - what about sharing and following?
  - what specific niche are you aiming at or are you going for a general audience?
  - is your product aiming to be a platform?
  - how are you different from the incumbents?
  - mobile or web or native or some combination of the above?
  - in short, let me know your angle, and give me reasons to try you out
Frankly, for me, the fact that you started another social network and let it die would discourage me from trying your new effort. And stuff like `stay beautiful' strikes me as saccharine and inauthentic though maybe I've become too cynical, clearly I'm not within the target audience.

>I’m finding that “social networks” should be a consequence of a product that solves a real problem, not that product’s raison d’etre.

Facebook mainly solves one problem: How do I keep in communication with the many people I know IRL? This is a real problem for many people, especialy when you have friends/family all over the country/world.

Any would-be strict competitor with Facebook will have to deal with a bootstrapping problem: How do you get enough people who know each other IRL to sign up and use the website?

Relaxing any one aspect of that, I think, will make success much easier:

* Enough people: You could have a niche focus (car forum) or a niche community (forum for one Eve Corp).

* Know eath other IRL: You could have an anonymous forum (4chan) or a pseudonymous forum (Reddit).

* Sign-up: Twitter, YouTube, and most forums don't require signups to view user-provided content. 4chan doesn't even require login to post.

Neat idea, it used to be called friendfeed. Facebook bought it and shot it in the head.

Back in 2004 Orkut and Google were sued by Affinity Engines, alleging Orkut stole their source code to start the social network at Google. The lawsuit was settled in 2006 but the details of that settlement have never been made public. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/402902/did-google-steal-s...

Orkut was much worse than FB regarding data privacy. I agree the author doesn't explain why Hello is different and tbh he talks about himself more than anything else.

So it's a mobile only, teen-centric social trinket that's also not available at all on my country according to the play store.

Fuck that.

Is there any successful social network that launched with a big splash? Big launches seem counter productive in social. You have a shitload of random people signing up, only to find that their friends are not yet on the network and they leave disappointed. Seems like grassroots marketing is the only way with social media

I am not going to any non open source social network again. If self hosted even better. And no closed clients any more.

Just want to point out that in their ToS, they specify that while you have the option of deleting your User data, they are not responsible in any way for doing so and can't guarantee that you deleting the data will actually delete your data... That's a big no for me right there.

You’d think that an app that had the foresight to ask which pronouns their users preferred would not limit it to two options, or at the very least wouldn’t require an answer.

Also strange that an app asking me for my real name isn’t being louder about their stance on privacy at signup (given the present climate).

That said, it feels like mobile-only Reddit, but without the user base.

The next social network I join will be decentralized with a heavy focus on design and usability. Gtfo

I know this doesn't matter as I'm a tiny minority but mobile only makes this inaccessible to me. I have no compelling reason to have a cell phone plan and this isn't going to be one either.

Does anyone remember the Pierre Omidyar's "manifesto" on how Ebay is all about what is good about human and that humans are mostly good by default? Can't seem to find it anywhere.

I upvoted because I'd like to see more competition to FB so people don't feel as "trapped" to one network, but I see no reason why this would be much better than FB privacy-wise.

Why is the privacy policy basically hidden away? https://hello.com/policy/privacy/

And who doesn't wrap their text? Is this a joke? Do they really want to make it as unreadable as possible?

I loved Orkut like anything. They had this "Recent visitors" feature which was super awesome! My second favourite feature was "Scrapbook"

When Orkut was discontinued, I was too sad.

I find it funny how the app makers and founder talks about spreading love and meeting people of similar interest but the app is made unavailable for most west African countries .

Still can't signup if not in the list of supported countries.

I never could figure out why Orkut did not see the success that Facebook did. Unfortunately this incarnation requires an Android or iOS app so it is a non-starter for me.

Orkut is a finnish colloquial word for "orgasms".

It's the guy's name. Give him a break. There are a lot of names which don't translate well in other languages.

On the other hand, having your social network associated with orgasms might not be such a bad plan!

and kut is Dutch for cunt.

I feel like Facebook Groups and Google Plus communities have proven that organizing people around their shared interests doesn't work very well.

Except on Twitter it does work and very organically too.

Not available for India. Great. Leave out the most populous country in the world which has a long history with Orkut. I love this. (sarcasm)

> Not available for India.

It is.

Please do not put something like a chat or messenger. I have 6 apps to communicate, each type of person has a different channel to speak.

  This app can:
  - find accounts on the device
  - read your contacts
Can I be social with someone chosen by my own, please?

Bounced at gender binary selection as well as requiring a photo. Otherwise I enjoyed the progressive on boarding experience.

Is this a Google product, then?

It says he was a google engineer, but I get the impression he left. So this is independent, right?

Google Play Store says “This item is not available in your country.” (Denmark)

Hello's loss, not mine…

not available in Turkey. By the way founder is from Turkey as he said in motivation part.

If it allows me to remain anonymous and does not tracks me, spy me etc. I am down for it!

What makes it different? Not much info and I'm not going to download an app to see.

Just wondering: How did you (supposing Orkut reads this here) get the IP out of Google?

I think you mean the Domain Name. Well, I think he just asked (and maybe bought for a fee)

hello.com used to be owned by Google, too. It came with the Picasa acquisition. He probably just asked Larry for both. It's not as if he were a random employee. Somewhere on the Internet I saw that Google might own a stake (I'm a former Googler, but have no clue about any such arrangements).

The real question here is whether they removed the very inappropriate animated emoji.

One can't exactly understand the need for or the reason for this new product.

Because the alternatives are better? Because we need convergence? Because competition is bad? For what?

And continues to remain blocked here in the UAE.

Is this a real website or some click bait !

this seems better executed than the aesthetic disaster that is ello.co, so props to that

It’s Google, smelling blood

Seems to be US-only?

No. I put my complete +(country) and then the rest of my usual number and got a text. However, the text that I received was from a US number.

> Oh no, it looks like you're trying to access the hello app from your desktop or laptop (we're mobile only)

Good bye, Orkut! You didn't even give me a chance to convince me I should make the effort of installing yet another app on my phone.

When I read your comment, I immediately thought of someone using a web proxy to find security flaws.

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