Took some flak for suggesting Orkut isn't strategic for Google. The objection was that Google wanted to acquire Friendster (or so it was rumoured), so clearly Orkut was Google rolling it's own networking service into a larger strategy when Friendster turned them down.
I'm not so sure - Friendster has one crucial strategic asset Orkut doesn't: a massive user base (which it owns). Note that Orkut entry is highly restricted. If Google saw Orkut as a strategic building block, I think it would integrate it tightly into Google.com, and invite the masses to enter. Thus building the massive user base it hoped to acquire with Friendster - because, let's face it, the technology behind any of these services ain't exactly rocket science.
As it is, I think it's just what it says it is: a technological sandbox to play in, and find out if there's a strategic place for Orkut inside Google.