Firstly, consider that much of the speculation about Google’s plans tend to focus on two Google properties, Orkut and iGoogle (Google’s social site and personalised home page, respectively). I would be very interested in a mashup of both properties, or at least an iGoogle upgrade with Orkut functionality built in for those who want the best of both worlds. Imagine your start page being a collection of social widgets telling you what your friends are up to, whether you have new mail and what the weather will be like later today.
Now bear in mind that Google has just bought Jaiku which combines presence with microblogging and your phone’s address book. Consider Jaiku functionality being built into Orkut so that you can now see where your friends are and what they are doing with updates posted on the go using an enhanced version of the mobile app. In addition, you also have the benefit of a more developed and dynamic address book (imagine if Google bought Plaxo and added Plaxo to the mix?!) that integrates into your friends list and friends’ status updates. Heck, Nokia is already taking social media mobile with its Mosh service.
Of course there is still plenty scope to add in other Google products like Google Maps, Gmail, Google Calendar, a combination of Google Shared Stuff and Google Reader and, of course, Google’s Universal Search and you can begin to see how much room there is for growth at Orkut. We already (kinda) know that Orkut is going to be improved using projects like Socialstream and when you consider the potential for integration with the likes of Jaiku, iGoogle and even a rumoured platform-like development platform for 3rd party applications I believe we can expect to see some really awesome stuff from Google next month that will have a profound impact on Facebook in the coming months.
There is some new (or renewed) interest in Orkut in response to Microsoft’s infiltration into Facebook (which more than one person regards as really unfortunate) and this is as good a time as any to dip a toe in and see what Orkut is all about as it stands now and possibly as a precursor to a more developed presence on Orkut once we know what Google’s plans for it are.
Anyway, if you do find yourself on Orkut, be sure to look me up while you are there.