Google, Orkut and Affinity Engines’ Social Networking Suit

Google is facing legal action after Affinity Engines (AE) accused them of using their code in their Orkut social networking site.  This is all splendid timing for a company that is planning a major IPO.

They claim that the code was taken to Google by Orkut Buyukkokten, who had also promised Affinity Engines that he wouldn’t develop a competing social network product.

It’s not looking good for Google – nine bugs present is Orkut are also present in Affinity Engines’ inCircle product. In addition to the bugs, AE claim that there are textual similarities between the two sets of source code.

Google refuted the claims in a statement to Wired News: “Affinity Engines has not provided any evidence to Google that their source code was used in the development of We have repeatedly offered to allow a neutral expert to compare the codes in the two programs and evaluate Affinity’s claims, but Affinity has rejected that offer.”

Orkut is a Turkish citizen and was working on inCircle when he ran into some visa problems. Taking a job at Google was a way to get round this, but he kept working on inCircle – though signed agreements not to develop any further social-networking technology and confirming that any code he developed belonged to AE.

The name of Google’s new social networking site couldn’t be a more obvious indicator of who has been working on it.


About inCircle

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?