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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.