Five years ago, a Googler from the great nation of Turkey created Google's first official social network.
Since his last name Büyükkökten was fairly hard to pronounce (at least to the average American), Google decided to name their new social network after his first name, Orkut instead (at least according to the rumors).
Despite the fact that it failed to succeed in the US (MySpace and Facebook dominate here), Orkut somehow later on took off in both Brazil and India--and was even given "Google love" on the homepage for a short season.
Although Orkut has gone through many changes ranging from a (desperately needed) site redesign, to Orkut apps to launching Orkut mobile for smart phones (including the iPhone), the site has kept its simple yet functional design, making the site very enjoyable to use.
While I can only guess what 2009 holds for Orkut's future, I am glad that Google gave Orkut a chance early on as it is one of the few sites that allows me to actively interact with people from half way around the world (mostly from India and Brazil, but also Pakistan, Israel, England, and those crazy--yet lovable Iranians).
Happy Birthday Orkut! And thanks to all of the Googlers (especially the founder) who spend time improving the site, and for putting up with our constant whining (at least mine).
Update (1/25): The Official Orkut Blog not only celebrates its 5th anniversary, but hints towards even greater surprises for 2009.