It looks as if the boys and girls at Google have finally allowed users to create communities that are hidden from public view.
Previously users could only restrict access to who could join a forum, although the entire orkutsphere could read what was posted inside. Now it looks as if users will be able to setup their own secret forums, which may be both a blessing and a curse.
(Official Orkut Blog) Based on your feedback, we've decided to go even further to empower the owners of communities to choose whether to make their community content private or public. The additional privacy control we've added allows you to make your community an enclosed entity so that you can discuss whatever you want within its walls (of course, content must abide by orkut community standards and policies), resting assured that only members can view your discussions, forums, and events.
In order to turn on this feature, forum administrators need to click on the edit profile link...
...then look for the content privacy section and select the "bubble" (or rather circle) next to the hidden - only members can view the contents of the community text.
While the forums will be hidden from view, there is no word on whether or not these communities will be removed from the Universal Search index (note: hopefully Google will update their post regarding this).
Regardless of whether or not the forums are still indexed, these privacy settings should make it easier for orkut hacker forums to thrive as there will be no one around to report them.
On a side note however, cops will probably hate this new feature as it will allow child predators and (to a lesser extent) a few terrorist groups to thrive without being noticed (as you would have to be invited to even know that these groups existed).
Looking on the bright side of things however, schools, clubs and family members will be able to create their own private forums, which should make invites inside certain groups much more appealing.