Google to open source Orkut?

Google may be planning to open source its Orkut service to compete with Facebook.

Barry Summerlin is reporting that Google plans to open source its Orkut social networking code to go after Facebook.

Orkut has been around since early 2004, though you'd have trouble finding any users among your own friends. However, the site does a mean, market-leading business in Asia and Latin America, particularly Brazil (Orkut's forums are nearly dominated by Portuguese). If you believe the chatter, Google will make Orkut's source code available to outside programmers, duplicating the third-party-widget blueprint largely fueling the ascension of privately-held Facebook.

Does it matter? This is not too dissimilar from proprietary companies seeking relevance for forgotten products by open sourcing them. It just doesn't work. Open source is not a ticket to relevance, though it can help strong products become stronger.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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