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Google kills its successful social network. Yes, we mean Orkut

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Google is killing off Orkut, the web giant's original and arguably most successful social network, which remains popular in Brazil and India but never really gained traction in the West.

Worse still, the Mountain View company announced the move during the World Cup football tournament – taking place in Brazil.

In a carefully worded blog post titled "Tchau Orkut" – which means "bye" or "farewell" in Portuguese – Google told users of the network that "YouTube, Blogger and Google+" had "outpaced Orkut's growth".

The more astute readers among you might note that the ad giant did not say that its, er, "network thingy" Google+ had jumped ahead of Orkut, however. Instead Mountain View, perhaps unsurprisingly, lumped Google+ together with YouTube and Blogger as "communities" that it wants to make "as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them".

The demise of Orkut, meanwhile, will be swift.

Google said the kill switch would come on 30 September this year. It said:

Until then, there will be no impact on current Orkut users, to give the community time to manage the transition. People can export their profile data, community posts and photos using Google Takeout (available until September 2016). Starting today, it will not be possible to create a new Orkut account.

Google added that an archive of all public communities would live on its search index and be fully accessible via its archives. "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," the company added.

Mountain View said:

It's been a great 10 years, and we apologise to those still actively using the service. We hope people will find other online communities to spark more conversations and build even more connections for the next decade and beyond.

In recent years, Orkut, perhaps inevitably, lost its social networking crown in India and Brazil - where it had commanded the most loyal users - to Facebook.

Google's decision to axe Orkut came just days after the company confirmed it was retiring its Quickoffice app, which had only been released about a year ago.

Interestingly, Google did not once explicitly suggest Google+ as an alternative. The reason? It is not providing a connection tool.

Google explained on its support page that there was no way of migrating the data over to Google+ from Orkut. Instead, it simply advised that users who want their profiles and communities to live on should create new Google+ pages.

But nothing else will be transferred, which will undoubtedly frustrate the hell out of folk who have painstakingly built up a social following on Orkut only to discover they have to start again. From scratch. On Google+. ®

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