Orkut gave the first social experience to users worldwide, enabling everyone to meet their old and new friends. Google has announced that it will be shutting down its social networking site after a decade of its launch. Although the social site has a user base of over 100 million, it is not something that could do justice to Google’s reputation in a market where Facebook commands more than a billion users.
Orkut was able to catch lot of success in India and Brazil. According to Google, winding Orkut is a measure to focus more of its resources on other social networking initiatives. The growth experienced by other social sites has significantly outpaced that of Orkut, leaving Google to search for other options.
Google launched their social site in 2004, the same year Facebook was launched. Today, Facebook has over 1.2 billion active registered users, whilst the number of Orkut users has seen a sharp decline.
Google Plus as an Alternative
With over 300 million active users, Google+ has been promoted by Google as more of a medium for establishing user identity rather than a social site similar to Facebook. It is expected to connect and help improve all the web properties of the search engine giant that also owns YouTube. Google already requires its YouTube users to sign in with their Google Plus account before they could post comments on the video sharing site.
Exporting User Data
Although Orkut is claimed to be shut down by September, Google has made it clear that they will be preserving an archive of all the communities on the social networking site. Users can however remove Orkut from their Google account if they don’t want to see their name or posts in the archive.
Users could export all of their data from their account using Google Takeout. However, it is no longer possible to create new accounts on the site.
The Legacy of Orkut
Google has “apologised” to active Orkut users about the decision. It was Google’s first attempt at launching a social network. It may not have built a significant user base in the U.S., but it was in 2012 that Facebook was eventually able to become more popular than Orkut. Google has recently phased out many of its other web properties. It already has YouTube as one of the leading social sites-come-search engine, but it will be worth waiting to see how Google will respond to the growing numbers and revenues of Facebook and Twitter.