It has been 10 years since Google ventured into the area of social networking with its first social network Orkut. On the 30th of June last, Google announced it will be shutting down Orkut on the 30th of September. While Orkut is not very well known to the European or even US markets, at one time is was bigger than Facebook in Brazil and India. Interestingly Orkut launched less than one month before Mark Zuckerberg and friends launched "theFacebook" in their Harvard dormitory.
This infographic from oneproductions profiles the rise and fall of Orkut, now destined for the infamous "Google Graveyard" and takes us through its journey from conception to evolution and its final demise. In the end Google wanted to focus on You Tube, Blogger and Google+ which simply had much faster growth than Orkut.
Orkut launched on the 24th of January in 2004 and quickly amassed 1,500 early adopters in 6 weeks. It was named after its creator Google Engineer Orkut Büyükkökten. It quickly gained popularity in Brazil and India and was aimed at young non US English Speakers.
In its 10 year lifespan it underwent two re-designs and countless controversies including hate crime groups and reports of Orkut users distributing pornographic and racist materials on its network. In fact, many Islamic states placed a national censorship ban on the network.
While traffic growth in Latin America and its strongholds was strong, Orkut failed to capture the lucrative North American market which reflected in advertising revenues. Meanwhile, Facebook was the rising star of the social media space gaining traction quickly with users and investors. In the end Facebook finally overtook Orkut in both India and Brazil as the dominant social network and even though Google launched Google+ in 2011, Facebook still dominated as the world’s largest social media network.
So farewell Orkut.