Google to shutter Orkut on 30 September

In a shocking (not really) announcement late last night Google announced plans to shut down Orkut, its first attempt at building a social network. The platform will be formally closed on 30 September, after which users will be unable to log in or export their photo albums to Google+, which some believe is the better working prototype of its predecessor. Orkut grew out of Google’s 20 per cent initiative, which allowed employees to use a fifth of their working week on side projects. The social network has since been supplanted by Google+, a more ambitious service that ties into many of Google’s other products. 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. The Orkut app will be removed from Google Play and the App Store later today. And one can find out more about the changes and how its user base will be affected in the coming months. 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. Orkut has been around for a decade, but its usage in US declined over the last six to eight years, though it has remained popular in other markets, such as Brazil and India. Account data will be inaccessible after 30 September for all users. Google will preserve the open community threads, and suggests users transition their content and communities to Google+. Google has a history of killing off its underperforming products and Orkut is no exception.