Sad times at the Googleplex today, after the company announced plans to put its first-ever attempt at social networking out to pasture. Orkut was launched in 2004 as a '20 percent' project (Google employees are supposed to spend a day of their working week on cool new projects), but couldn't compete with the likes of MySpace and Bebo, which became popular shortly after its launch.
In a blog post today, Paulo Golgher, Orkut's engineering director, said the company will permanently shut Orkut down on September 30. From today, you can't create an account any more.
'It's been 10 great years, and we apologise to those still actively using the service,' he said. 'We hope people will find other online communities to spark more conversations and build even more connections for the next decade and beyond.' (Not to worry, Paulo, it turns out they have found another online community: it's called 'Facebook').
You may never have heard of it, but Orkut did enjoy a period of relative success - particularly in Brazil, where Facebook didn't overtake it until early 2012.
Orkut joins Google's other failed social networking experiments like Wave and Buzz in Google's social media crypt. Golgher said it was being retired so Google can 'focus more energy and resources' on making the likes of YouTube, Blogger and Google+ 'as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them'. Although considering that, three years after its launch, Google+ is floundering to the point where it's the victim of constant rumours of imminent shutdown, it might not be long before more corpses join the crypt. MT knows what it's dressing as at Halloween this year...