Google kills Slide, VP Levchin departs

Faith Merino · August 26, 2011 · Short URL:

Google plans to retire many of Slide's apps over the next several months

Just one year after acquiring social app-maker Slide for $200 million, Google has decided to nix the whole thing, and Slide founder and Google VP Max Levchin is leaving, according to Google and Slide.  The news emerged Thursday evening, after an all-hands meeting with Slide employees, according to reports.

The separation is blunt but amicable, as evidenced by Google's statement: “Max has decided to leave Slide and Google to pursue other opportunities, and we wish him the best.  Most of the team from Slide will remain at Google to work on other opportunities.”

Since its acquisition, Slide has been operating as an independent unit in its San Francisco office while Levchin was named a Google VP of engineering on par with Vic Gundrota, who has since gone on to help mobilize Google+ with Brad Horowitz.  Curiously, Levchin—who was presumably ushered into the Google inner circle for his social know-how and experience—was left out of the Google+ loop.

At the time of Slide’s acquisition, in which Levchin personally pocketed $39 million after investing $7 million of his own money into the startup, Google was hovering on the fringes of the social scene and looking for a way in.  So, naturally, it made sense that the search giant would jump on Slide.  But times have changed.  Back then, Eric Schmidt was CEO, Google+ was a twinkle in God’s eye, and Android was struggling to catch up with iOS in the smartphone market. Since then, Larry Page has taken the wheel and is clearly getting down to business when it comes to Google’s social aims, which include circles and the +1 button, not apps that let you fling virtual sheep at people.

Part of the reason for Slide’s retirement: Slide’s apps simply didn’t take off as anticipated.

“We created products with the goal of providing a fun way for people to connect, communicate and share,” Slide explained in a blog post.  “While we are incredibly grateful to our users and for all of the wonderful feedback over the years, many of these products are no longer as active or haven't caught on as we originally hoped.”

Consequently, many Slide applications are getting the ax, including Superpoke Pets, Pool Party, Video Inbox, and even Photovine, which just launched last week.

Founded in 2005, Slide raised $78 million in venture financing and was, at one point, valued at $500 million.

The other members of the Slide team will remain at Google, where some are expected to be shifted over to YouTube, according to reports. 

Check out recent VatorNews interviews with Max Levchin here.

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