This past year alone Google added a bunch of features to Orkut ranging from chatting (via Google Talk) to mobile (for regular cell phones, the iPhone and Symboan smart phones), to finally enabling private forums (a feature police may not like) as well as the ability to easily share images with your friends.
While we can only imagine what the boys and girls at Google will do as far as Orkut is concerned, here is my educated guess as to what Google will have accomplished by the end of 2009.
10,000 20,000 Orkut Apps!
Google has already crossed the 1,000 app thresh hold (they are at 1,668) and at this rate I will be surprised if they have not passed 20,000 Orkut apps (let alone 10,000).
Hopefully by then we will have categories to make it easier to sort/locate/organize apps by our tastes.
Now that FeedBurner is apart of the Google family, I think we may finally see email subscriptions for forum threads (which will help keep community conversations--and forums--alive much longer).
I also predict that Google may enable RSS feeds for Orkut forums (similar to what Rahul has done with Orkut Feeds).
Raising the friend limit to 5,000
Google currently limits the number of friend connections you can have on Orkut to 1,000 (although their are various hacks to get around it). Expect Google to bump this up to 5,000 (or even better, provide no limits).
Video Chat in Gtalk (With VoIP to-go?)
With Google recently launching video chat within Gmail, I would not be surprised if Google decided to add this feature within Orkut as well (after previously adding Google Talk not too long ago).
Google may also try to experiment with VoIP on Orkut for Brazilian, Indian and American users in order to find another way to pay for the hosting/bandwidth fees of running Orkut (as simply slapping AdSense on everything probably does not pay all of Orkut's bills).
That is assuming GrandCentral (which Google purchased last year) is still alive.
A native Orkut Android App
For those of you who are new to the world of "mobile geek," Google has recently launched Android, a mobile operating system that can turn regular smart phones into iPhone killers.
Since the iPhone is ridiculously priced at 31,000 Rupees (or $640 USD) in India and 1,089 Reals (or $470 USD) in Brazil (note: its $200 in the US), Google will probably push for more carriers in both Brazil and India to adopt more affordable Android phones, which could result in the search engine giant creating an Orkut Android App.
Longshot: AdSense Revenue Sharing (for large forums)
Google will probably being experimenting with sharing AdSense revenue with forum owners, which could help entice owners to keep their communities not only active, but spam free as well.
While I do not think Google would (or should) roll this out to the masses this year (as they have to improve the security situation regarding hacked forums), I believe they will test this with some of the large forums on Orkut, and may eventually roll this out to the rest of the orkutsphere (if their experiment proves to be successful).
Any other predictions?
These are a few of my predictions regarding Orkut for next year, and if you have any other guesses, tips, etc. feel free to post them in the comment section below (and if you have a link, simply paste it below for the rest of us to see).