Google quietly released a new online social networking service Thursday .. Called Orkut, the service allows users to link up with friends of their friends and aims to ``increase the overall satisfaction of social life.'' It is much like the hot Sunnyvale online dating service Friendster -- but possibly with more features. The launch comes just three months after Google entered talks to acquire Friendster -- reportedly for $30 million -- and was rebuffed.
The project was developed by a Google engineer [named Orkut] and a few of his colleagues, and is still in testing mode, according to Google spokeswoman Eileen Rodriguez. She said Google encouraged its launch but otherwise is taking a hands-off approach. .. For the time being, Google says it has no plans to use the personal information supplied by Orkut users for searches. Like Friendster, Orkut only accepts people invited by someone already on the network."