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Google to kill social network Orkut

As Google focuses more on services like Google+, it will shutter the decade-old social network, popular mostly in Brazil.


Google on Monday announced that it will shut down social network Orkut -- which had been mostly popular outside the United States -- at the end of September.

The service launched in 2004, the same year as Facebook, and is a hub for online interactions and photo sharing. The site never quite won over users in the US, but found success in countries like India and Brazil.

The social-networking world is starkly different from when the site launched a decade ago. Facebook, with more than 1.2 billion users, is now the clear king of social. Mobile social networks like Instagram -- owned by Facebook -- and Snapchat, which specializes in photos that disappear after a few seconds, also have become popular among young people.

Google has tried its hand at social a number of other times. In February 2010, the company launched Google Buzz, a social network built into Gmail that pulled together contacts from a user's email account. In October 2010, the company announced it would shutter the Buzz service.

Google's most formidable attempt came with Google+, launched in June 2011, a few months before the company pulled the plug on Buzz. Google said in October that 300 million users visit the Google+ homepage every month. While it has not found the kind of traction that would make it a true Facebook rival, Google has used the service more as a way of tying together the company's catalog of different services.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for Orkut's user numbers. We'll update this post when we hear back.

Google touted the growth of Google+, as well as YouTube and Blogger, as a reason it decided to shutter Orkut. "Because the growth of these communities has outpaced Orkut's growth, we've decided to bid Orkut farewell," Paulo Golgher, Orkut's engineering director, wrote in a blog post.

The site will officially go dark on September 30. Existing users can export their photos and profile information using a service called Google Takeout, but new users are no longer able to set up accounts.