It seems that Google is no longer requiring invites inside of its social networking service, Orkut.com. Users can sign up now by using their Google accounts or simply creating one and linking it to their Orkut account (which sounds redundant if you ask me).
Mitanshu was one of the first bloggers who came across this discovery after a friend of his got rebuffed by the “you need an invite to be cool” paragraph. He soon discovered that Google was allowing anyone with a Google account to sign up, and has provided some nice screen shots for all to see.
Although there is no official word about this from the Google Blog, Orkut News or even the googler Ellen (who works on the site), this may be a response towards Facebook which previously began allowing open registrations of their site.
Orkut currently has around 30 million registered users, although 63% of them hail from Brazil (with America approaching 14% and India climbing up to 10%). Although not a favorite in the US, Orkut seems to be (ironically) gaining ground abroad and perhaps is Google’s way of cementing its position overseas.
Update: Orkut seems to have opened this up to some countries, but not others (which is really strange of Google). For more info regarding this, the Internet News Blog has more (scroll down to his update).