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Google is killing off Orkut

Google's longest-lived social project faces the axe

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Orkut, one of Google's first forays into social networking, will be closed down by the search company at the end of September.

The social networking service, which is operated by Google Brazil, will go offline as of Sept. 30. Existing posts and content will be available in an archive, but no one will be allowed to log in, according to an official blog post.

Engineering director Paulo Golgher wrote that the growth of other Google services - like Google Plus, YouTube and Blogger - that share some functionality with Orkut prompted the decision.

"We'll be focusing our energy and resources on making these other social platforms as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them," he said.

The brainchild of Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten, Orkut went online in January 2004, predating Facebook by roughly a month. Its structure is similar to Facebook's, being organized around user profiles, friendships and community groups. While it never achieved great popularity in the U.S., Orkut quickly caught on in Brazil, remaining more popular than Facebook until 2012 in that country.

Orkut joins a long list of in-house social media projects - including Buzz, Wave and Friend Connect - on Google's compost heap. The company, as yet, hasn't been able to make the same impact on social media that it has made in the online advertising and services sectors. The current offering, Google Plus, is three years old and still struggles for the same relevance as competitors like Facebook and Twitter.


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