Back in the heady days of the early 2000s, early social networking services like Tribe.net, Friendster, MySpace and (yep) Facebook all offered similar features: connecting with other folks via the world wide web. Orkut, founded in 2008 and owned by Google, is named after the engineer who created the service as a 20 percent project.
Of course, once Facebook became the de-facto social network in the US, services like Orkut all but disappeared here. Even so, Orkut was huge in Brazil, and even migrated to servers based there in 2008. Heck, there was even an Android and iOS app.
Unfortunately for Brazilians and other hold-outs, Orkut is shutting down in September of 2014. As of July 30, new users won’t be able to create new accounts on the service, either.
“Over the past decade, YouTube, Blogger and Google+ have taken off,” Paulo Golgher, Engineering Director, writes on the Orkut blog, “with communities springing up in every corner of the world. Because the growth of these communities has outpaced Orkut’s growth, we’ve decided to bid Orkut farewell (or, tchau). We’ll be focusing our energy and resources on making these other social platforms as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them.”
The entire Orkut service will live on as an archive starting in September 2014, and if you are a grumpy Orkutuser who wishes to opt out, there’s a way to permanently remove Orkut from your Google account.
You can still use Orkut as it stands until September. You can export your photo albums to Google+ until September 30, 2014, and then save your Orkut profile, scraps, testimonials and community posts to your own computer using Google Takeout until September 2016.
Igor Capibaribe, a photographer from Brazil now based in San Francisco, tells Cult of Mac that while he and many of his friends used the service, it out-stayed its welcome.
“But it became tacky with all the jumping ponies as gif animations,” he said. “I can’t remember the last time I went there. Ghost town? I used it for many years; it was great connection tool for a while…Rest in peace, Orkut.”
Additional reporting by Nicole Martinelli.