Google has been trying out its hand in the social networking business for quite some time now. If you can relate to it, you will remember how many days you might have spent chatting with friends and writing on each others walls with Orkut. Good old days, huh?
However, change is the most absolute thing in the universe. And changes were happening all over the planet. One such change that killed off Orkut almost entirely was the introduction of Facebook from Mark Zuckerberg. For the record, Orkut's official release date was January 2004, while Facebook's was February that year.
Google has now announced that Orkut will be shutting down in September after years of struggling with Facebook's enjoying most of the social media cake.
Google said it will shut down Orkut, which has been very popular in India and Brazil, on September 30. The service, however, did not do so well in other parts of the world and lost its glamour to rivals like Facebook.
So this is as good a time as any to look back at Google's disastrous history with social networking. And rest assured, Google had quite a few under its wings. Here's a look at the top 5.
Google's Social Media Disasters: Dodgeball
Dodgeball was basically a social media acquisition that Google made back in 2005. The service was built via the co-founder who eventually built Foursquare. The service was one of the first attempt at location-based social media, keeping a tab on your "crushes." However, it ceases to exist now.
Google's Social Media Disasters: Google Buzz
Google Buzz was perhaps the search giant's first ever attempt at competing with Facebook and Twitter, face-on. And needless to say, it was a failure from the start. It was a social network and microblogging service that was integrated within Gmail, allowing users to share links, videos and photos.
Google's Social Media Disasters: Google Plus
This one still exists. And yet Google is still to find out the driving factor that pushes a social networking site to the top. Google+ recently lost its top executive and advocate Vic Gundotra, and Larry Page said he is still committed to the actual network. However, it is to be seen if the site has any other potential rather than just being a link between Android users and Google.
Google's Social Media Disasters: Latitude
Google hadn't reached the promised land earlier with the introduction of Dodgeball. And to make matters even worse, it revamped the Dodgeball into latitude. Only to shut it down in 2013.
Google's Social Media Disasters: YouTube
This might not be considered as a "true" social networking site, but YouTube's apparent log-in requirement with users commenting their brains out may be considered something close to that. And again, if not careful, the service might soon go into limbo with new rules imposed by Google on the video service.
YouTube visitors need to sign in with Google+ if they want to leave comments. So, in a way, It's a kind of forced integration that has been criticized by many Google users. A namesake social network, it seems!