Orkut Returns After Downtime

The social networking project of a Google engineer is letting members connect again after going offline earlier in the week for improvements.

Orkut, Google Inc.s closely watched experiment with social networking, is back in service.

After going offline over the weekend, the invite-only social network returned on Wednesday. Members can once again connect with one another on the site, and those invited to join can sign up for the service.

But Orkut isnt promising that another outage wont occur. In a posting that appears when new members join, the site reiterates that it is in beta, meaning it "might require some quiet time alone to work out some issues."

"We hope youll bear with Orkut as it strives to better itself," the posting continues. "After all, thats what good friends do."

Google had said Orkut went offline for part of this week to make improvements based on user feedback.

The Orkut site is the brainchild of Google engineer Orkut Buyukkokten and went live last week. It raised speculation that Google would enter the rapidly expanding social networking space with the likes of Friendster Inc., LinkedIn Ltd. and Ryze Ltd.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about social networkings increasing focus on the enterprise.

But Google has made it clear that Orkut is an engineering experiment and not a supported product of the company. Buyukkokten developed the site during the time that Google provides engineers to work on their own projects.