Google’s first social networking site Orkut will shut down after September, a decade on from its launch, as the internet giant looks to focus on its YouTube, Blogger and Google+ networks instead.
Orkut gained huge popularity in India and Brazil, but did not do so well in other parts of the world and lost share to rivals such as Facebook and Twitter.
In a blog post titled “Tchau Orkut” – which means “bye” or “farewell” in Portuguese – Google told users of the network that “YouTube, Blogger and Google+” had “outpaced Orkut’s growth”. Google did not did not disclose the number of users on the website
“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,” Google said in the post.
Orkut was launched early in 2004, the same year that Facebook, now the world’s No.1 social network with 1.28 billion users, was founded.
The company said it would preserve an archive of all Orkut “communities” that will be available from September 30.
“If you don’t want your posts or name to be included in the community archive, you can remove Orkut permanently from your Google account,” Google said.
Google’s social problem
The service’s shutdown comes as Google’s social networking plans remain in question. In April, Vic Gundotra, the head of Google’s social networking services, left the company.
Gundotra oversaw the 2011 launch of Google+, a social networking service similar to Facebook. Gundotra said in October that 300 million users visit the Google+ web page every month.
Google has increasingly sought to position Google+ less as a social networking “stream” that competes with Facebook, and more as a means of establishing a unified “user identity” system to improve Google’s various Web properties. Last year, for example, Google began requiring users of its YouTube site to sign in with their Google+ identity before posting comments about videos.
Read the blog announcement here