Google today announced plans to shut down Orkut, its first attempt at building a social network. The platform will be formally closed on September 30, after which users will be unable to log in or export their photo albums to Google+.
Orkut grew out of Google’s 20 percent initiative, which allowed employees to use a fifth of their working week on side projects. Of course, the social network has since been supplanted by Google+, a more ambitious service that ties into many of Google’s other products. The decision to close Orkut is therefore hardly surprising – the fact it took so long is probably more of a shock.
Starting today, it will be impossible for newcomers to create a new Orkut account. Existing users can access the service as normal, however; Google says the three-month period should “give the community time to manage the transition.” Orkut enthusiasts can also export their profile data , community posts and photos using Google Takeout.
Orkut has been around for a decade and to mark its legacy, Google will preserve all of the site’s public communities in an archive. It’s a nice gesture, although users can choose to opt-out by decoupling Orkut from their Google account.
“It’s been a great 10 years, and we apologize to those still actively using the service,” Paulo Golgher, an engineering director at Google said. “We hope people will find other online communities to spark more conversations and build even more connections for the next decade and beyond.”
The Orkut app will be removed from Google Play and the App Store later today. You can find out more about the changes and how its user base will be affected in the coming months here.
Google says it’ll be focusing its efforts on YouTube, Blogger and Google+ moving forward. None of these services featured at the company’s I/O conference last week, although CEO Larry Page insisted the latter is still “growing tremendously.” Google+ was recently updated with a new photo editor, Auto-Awesome Effects and photo albums called Google+ Stories.
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