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Google's Orkut code is stolen, says the company that its eponymous author founded and left. A lawsuit filed by Affinity Engines, co-founded by Orkut Buyukkokten, claims that there are nine unique bugs in the codebase, and that's too much to be a coincidence. Buyukkokten is a Stanford graduate and developed the social networking code for Stanford alumini, founding a company to develop it commercially before joining Google. But Google says that despite requests to see the code, Affinity Engines has, like SCO, refused to reveal its hand.

At the peak of the social networking hype a year ago, Google considered buying the best known brand, Friendster. Instead it launched Orkut, which represented a surprising departure for them. The home spun Windows-based project lacked much of the polish of the usual Google labs experiments, and was withdrawn within days after security bugs compromised users' privacy. It reappeared with a draconian Terms and Conditions which give Google the right to create derivative works.

As for the hype? Well, repetition and inanity have thinned the ranks considerably, as this excellent précis explains. None of the much-trumpeted social networking sites has yet to figure out a business model. And established and profitable networking websites point out that this isn't so much a Brave New Science, so much as a simple feature existing websites can add quickly and cheaply. So you don't have to be a genius to guess which way this will pan out.

(Silicon Valley VC John Doerr has put money behind Friendster, but you must remember that this is the fellow who predicted that another of his investments, Segway, would become the fastest-growing company in history, thanks to its $5,000 scooter).

Orkut means "to cum" in Finnish, although we don't know if Mr and Mrs Buyukkokten, who are Turkish, knew that at the time they christened their son. Perhaps the choice of Orkut, and the orgasmic name, are a sophisticated joke by the management. ®

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