With much of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s focus on Google+ and other social-friendly websites, the search giant is officially shuttering its original social network Orkut. The decision to close it was initially announced last June. The company gave enough time for Orkut users to export posts and photos via Google Takeout.
The downfall of Orkut
Orkut didn’t take off very far but it was popular in a few markets like Brazil. In the past few years, Google started shifting its focus towards Google+. Although the newer social platform has yet to have a significant presence like Facebook or Twitter, it does offer a lot of specially integrated products that transform the experience.
Orkut launched a decade ago where it started as an invite-only service. The website attracted users from North America in the early stages, but six months after the initial launch, Brazilian users started to outnumber North America users two to one. Closer towards the end of the year, Orkut was mostly dominated by Brazilian and Indian users. This helped shape the future of Orkut and helped it become what it is today.
Orkut’s impact and history
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)’s current chief executive officer Marissa Mayer was actually the product manager for Orkut. She said, “If you go to those countries (India and Brazil), they often think that Orkut owns Google. And you talk to people in Brazil, they’re like oh, Google, you mean the subsidiary of Orkut?”
Orkut’s rise helped contribute to bridging the divide digital economic divide between the countries. Orkut arrived in Brazil right when the nation’s middle class was emerging. It also came around a time when technology became more affordable and a growing sub-culture started to access the internet at internet cafes. Soon the emerging middle class joined the technological elite and transformed the network.