Orkut, Google's ugliest step-child has come out of invite-only lockdown.
There's now a "Join Now" link on the main page that will allow you to create a new Orkut account based on a Google Account login. I noticed that if you try to login before you've created an account you'll get the old 'link to an existing account' pass-off to the 'Orkut is unique, you need to be invited...' page -- so if you want in, make sure you hit the "Join Now" link.
Coinciding with this, Orkut has fully integrated GoogleTalk. Your Orkut 'friends' can be automatically added to your GoogleTalk friends list and Orkut 'scraps' automatically get IM'd to your GoogleTalk client. That's the second piece of tidy integration after Orkut started displaying a map of your friends via an in page Google Map mashup.
All this is a positive step, but I think it's important to point out that Orkut is still very ugly, and a long way away from being a MySpace killer. At least we can take this as a sign that things aren't dead at Orkut development HQ.