Google is shutting down Orkut, its first social network that was created by Orkut Büyükkökten in his 20% time, the company has announced on its official blog.
The service will be shut down on September 30, 2014 and you can export your Orkut profile data, community posts and photos via Google Takeout. The takeout option will be around till September 2016. There is also an option to export all your Orkut photos to Google Plus. The company is also preserving an archive of all public communities on Orkut that will be available online after the service is shut down. If you don’t want your posts or name to be included in the community archive, you can remove Orkut permanently from your Google account. Visit Orkut Help Center for more details.
Launched in 2004, Orkut was among the most visited website in Brazil and India for a while. It’s demise in India started around 2008, when more people started shifting to Facebook due to its privacy features (oh the irony!) The demise of Orkut has happened in slow motion, over half a decade. The tipping point came when Facebook started tying up with Indian companies. At that point Facebook was claiming it had 3.2 million active users in India. while Orkut was claiming to have 13 million users here. By the time Google started pointing out the importance of setting up a presence on Orkut to companies, it made more sense for them to concentrate on Facebook, Twitter and Google’s video network YouTube.
In 2011, Orkut got a partial makeover (community pages still had the old design), but Google followed it up by launching its new social network Google Plus the same year. By then, Facebook had overtook Orkut in Brazil and India as well. Since then, the social network has been an online relic of sorts, with very few active users. In 2012, Google started the slow process of convincing Orkut users to Google Plus. It started allowing users to link to Google Plus profiles from Orkut.
Orkut India Timeline
March 2004: Orkut was launched
2005: Indians among the top users of the social network.
2007: Orkut redesigned
2009 April: Hindustan Times uses Orkut during 2009 elections
2009 August: Orkut integrates GChat
2009 September: Orkut Interview
– Zeitgeist, ID Theft, Indic Languages, Partnerships, Trends & More
– On Applications, Integration Of Google Properties, Mobile, Orkut Promote
– Branding & Monetization, AdWords, CTRs
2011 February: Orkut launches Orkut Box Office
2011 March: Orkut gets a makeover
2011 September: Orkut adds more features
PS: It is interesting to note that Büyükkökten also developed a social network when he was in college that was exclusive to Stanford students. Is it just me or does it sound very similar to Facebook?