Google's first social network, Orkut, to shut down

Orkut will be gone on September 30th, but Google will keep an archive of the site's communities

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
June 30, 2014
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(Updated with comment from Google)

Building a social network is hard work. While Facebook made it look easy, so many others have tried and failed since then. Just ask Google, which has tried not only but twice to build a social network. 

The company is now, finally, admitting defeat, at least when it comes to the first try.

Orkut, which was Google’s attempted to get into social networking back in 2004, is shutting down, it wasrevealed in a blog post on Monday. It will be gone at the end of September, and users can no longer create Orkut accounts as of today.

The reason? It just never caught on, and was eventually surpassed by a number of other services, most notably Google+. I have to be honest with you: before today I had never even heard of Orkut!

"Over the past decade, YouTube, Blogger and Google+ have taken off, with communities springing up in every corner of the world. Because the growth of these communities has outpaced Orkut's growth, we've decided to bid Orkut farewell (or, tchau)," Paulo Golgher, Engineering Director, wrote.

Instead it is those other platforms that he mentioned above that will be getting the attention, and resources from now on.

"We'll be focusing our energy and resources on making these other social platforms as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them," he said.

Orkut never really having had a chance in the U.S. against the likes of Facebook, which came out the same year. It did find a home elsewhere, namely in Brazil, where more than 50% of its traffic came from, with another 13% coming from India. In comparison, only 4.7% of its traffic came from the United States.

It was even the most popular social network in Brazil for years, until Facebook inevitably took over a couple of years ago. It was also extremely popular in India, before it  saw its traffic dwindle 86% in a single year. Once again, users had moved on to Facebook. 

While Orkut will soon no longer be with us, Google is choosing to preserve "all of those incredible communities Orkut users have created will live on." There will be an archive of all public communities, which will be available online starting September 30th. Of course, users may not want to be a part of thaty archive, and can choose to remove Orkut from their account instead.

Users will also be able to export their profile data, community posts and photos using Google Takeout.

Google's cleaning out

Getting rid of Orkut is just the latest example of Google cleaning house, getting rid of old products and services to make way for new ones, which is how it spend most of its 2012.

In August of that year, Google got rid of Google Apps for Teams, Google Listen and Google Video for Business, as well at least 150 Google-created blogs for products and services. Then, in December, Google announced that it would no longer be offering a free version of its Google Apps For Businesses. It then got rid of Google Sync, a slew of calendar features, and Punchd.

Honestly, the most surprising this is that Orkut lasted as long as it did. 

VatorNews reached out to Google for some more specific growth and users numbers for Orkut but a Google spokesperson told us that the company does not release those metrics.

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