A decade ago, Google launched its first social network. Called Orkut after its creator, Google software engineer Orkut Buyukkokten, Google launched the network just months before Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg brought Facebook to the world. Orkut never amounted to much, and on Monday Google officially shut it down.
The more surprising part of that news is that Orkut was still around at all. In 2008, Google shifted Orkut's operations to Brazil, where the network had taken root and cultivated an active user base. When Google decided to give social another go with Google+, the company urged Orkut users to make the transition with linked Orkut and G+ profiles, a section that surfaced Google+ content in Orkut, and the ability to cross-post to both networks at the same time. After summer 2012, new features for Orkut trickled to a halt.
Why did Google give up on Orkut? For all the obvious reasons.
"Over the past decade, YouTube, Blogger, and Google+ have taken off, with communities springing up in every corner of the world," Google engineering director Paulo Golgher wrote in a Monday blog post. "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."
But Brazilians still loved the social network and will be most affected when Orkut shuts down Sept. 30. Diehard users will be able to export their profiles, photos, and community posts with Google Takeout until September 2016, and Google is archiving all public community posts, but Orkut isn't accepting any new users. If you don't want your information archived, you can delete Orkut from your Google account by logging in and following these steps: Data tools > Delete products > Remove Orkut permanently. Google has a handy FAQ about the Orkut closure over here.