Google Is Shutting Down Orkut, Its Oldest Social Networking Platform

Google has finally decided to shut down its once popular social networking website, Orkut. The website, which completed a decade of its existence back in January this year had long lost the social networking battle to rivals like Facebook and Twitter. While it might not have been very popular in Europe and North America, for a long time, Orkut was the top ranked social networking site in several countries – notably, countries like Brazil and India. From 2006 to 2009, it remained the most visited social network in India – before being overtaken by Facebook. Brazil however continues to have a large user base of Orkut users – to this day.

Orkut was named after a former Google employee named Orkut Büyükkökten who was credited behind the idea and subsequent creation of the website. Orkut was born out of Google’s famous 20 percent project which allowed its employees to work on individual products and ideas during their spare time.

At the height of its popularity – in 2006-2008, in many countries, Orkut rivaled other large social networks born at around the same time. Facebook and MySpace, for example. However, it seemed Google was not very keen at improving Orkut and its features. Owing to this, in due course users from Orkut started migrating to the fast growing Facebook. As of now, Orkut is barely a blip on the social networking radar. Google had also moved on with its much more contemporary Google Plus platform – with barely anyone from the company really interested in the upkeep of Orkut. Perhaps the only reason they deferred the official “death knell” for Orkut for this long was the fact that the site still has a sizable number of users from Brazil and India.

An official blog post on the Orkut blog confirmed that the site would be shut down on September 30. People have been given three months’ time to export their data and profile details to Google Plus. Here is what the Orkut blog says,

“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.

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). We’ll be focusing our energy and resources on making these other social platforms as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them. We will shut down Orkut on September 30, 2014.”

People would be able to use the site normally for the time being – but there would no longer be new sign ups.

In a move that would be welcomed by many, even though the service itself would cease to exist, public communities that existed on Orkut would be archived and would be kept online. Posts from there would not be deleted.

Have you used Orkut in the past? Any particular memory you wish to share about the service? Let us know in the comments!