Why Did Google Axe Its Old Social Media Platform?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is shutting down its social network. Not Google Plus, but the decade-old Orkut is getting the axe.

Orkut was Google’s original social media outlet. It got its start in 2004, the same year Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) premiered. It had social media profiles, photo capability, forums and games many features common to any social media website at the time. Although it never quite reached Facebook-level popularity, the social media website gained a following online. The Register noted that the social media network was particularly popular in Brazil and India. Official news of Orkut’s demise came via a post on Orkut’s blog and a notice on Google.

The blog post is titled “Tchau Orkut,” which means “Goodbye Orkut” in Portuguese. The post is part announcement, part eulogy for Google’s first attempt at social media from a time before the field was defined.

Ten years ago, Orkut was Google’s first foray into social networking. Built as a “20 percent” project, Orkut communities started conversations, and forged connections, that had never existed before. Orkut helped shape life online before people really knew what “social networking” was.

Today Google has YouTube, Blogger, and Google Plus, all parts of the social media field to varying degrees and varying levels of popularity. These outlets are the reason that Google is scrapping Orkut, so it can dedicate more resources to them instead of supporting its oldest social media outlet. It is ending Orkut based on a decision to end support for the social media platform.

Current Orkut users will be able to access their accounts for about three months following the announcement. Orkut users have until September to enjoy the social media platform that is slowly becoming an archive. Orkut will basically become an online exhibit of Google’s entry into social media.

Orkut users can transfer their information to Google Takeout, Google’s native archivist software, until September 2016. Photos can be transferred to Google Plus. Starting in July, no new accounts can be created, starting the first phase of the shutdown by shuttering the creation of new accounts. It has also removed the mobile apps from the App Store and Google Play. The Orkut community can no longer grow. Google has also put out a Help Guide dedicated for Orkut users to ease the transition to another social media option.

Slate’s Future Tense blog praised the social media network after the news broke of its end. “Google’s first social network was actually successful in its day, and 10 years is a pretty good run for a social network. It’s time for a retirement party,” wrote Lily Hay Newman, Lead Blogger for Future Tense.

Orkut’s legacy as Google’s first successful attempt at social media will live on in the nostalgia of Orkut users.

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