Update 21-Aug-2008: This issue has been resolved. Orkut is working again for Opera Mini users.
Google’s Orkut social network is hugely popular in India. In fact, India ranks second in the number of Orkut members (after Brazil). And many Indians use the Opera Mini browser to visit Orkut. Of all nations, India ranks third in the number of Opera Mini users, after Russia and Indonesia, and Orkut is the second most popular site (after Google) among Indian Opera Mini users.
But all is not well in this relationship. Since Friday, which coincidentally was Indian Independence Day, Orkut has been unavailable to users of the current 4.1 version of Opera Mini. After logging in, instead of seeing the Orkut homepage, Opera Mini users get a page that is blank except for the word “Google”. The only workaround is to use a different browser. Other full web mobile browsers, including Opera Mini 3.1, do allow users to login to Orkut. However 4.1 has many more features than the year old 3.1 and most users would prefer not having to switch to a less capable browser just to get into Orkut.
There’s a long history of Orkut and Opera Mini incompatibilities. Just two months ago, Orkut started forcing Mini users to a rather limited mobile version of the site, a change that was very unpopular with users and was rolled back after about two weeks. Last November another Orkut change rendered Orkut scrapbooks unavailable to Opera Mini users, a gaffe that also took a couple of weeks to fix.
It almost seems like Orkut doesn’t test site changes in Opera Mini. Given the popularity of Opera Mini in Orkut’s second biggest market you would think that Google would do a better job of making sure the two are compatible, particularly as the two companies have a partnership to make Google the default Opera Mini search engine.
Unhappy users are complaining on the support forums of both Opera and Google. No one identifying themselves as a Google representative has responded. Opera’s tireless forum moderator, Marianne Spilling, “ManneS” has posted on the Opera forum saying “We’re aware of it, but it’s not our fault… You should rather report back to Google, probably the Orkut team.”
Based on past history it looks like users will need to wait a week or two to see this issue resolved.