Start saying your farewells to Orkut — if you’ve ever even heard of it, that is.
Google is shutting down Orkut, the outdated social network the company launched 10 years ago. Starting today, the site will no longer accept new accounts. Current Orkut users (we hear they’re out there somewhere) will have until Sept. 30 — the site’s official closing date — to export all their precious photos and posts.
Well, there’s at least one Google executive that might want to hop on the next plane out of Sao Paolo–and it’s not because someone’s cheesed off at Orkut’s seeming frumpy sister status within the company’s social strategy.
Reuters reports that a regional Brazilian elections court wants the company’s top man in Brazil arrested immediately, as YouTube wouldn’t remove a video deemed defamatory of a local mayoral candidate.
“You can do that?!” — every political candidate in America right now.
Douglas Edwards was employee #59 at Google, where he headed up brand management around everything from April Fool’s Day to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the launch of products like Gmail, and the company’s IPO. In a new book, I’m Feeling Lucky, he writes about the launch of orkut.com, a social network built by engineer Orkut Buyukkokten under the product supervision of Marissa Mayer. Mr. Buyukkokten came to Google from Stanford where he “had become intrigued by the idea of social networks–a way to connect with friends and acquaintances online.”
As a student, the engineer had created a social network called “Club Nexus” for his friends at Stanford. He decided to use his 20 percent free time at Google to build it out, and built “orkut”–originally code-named “Eden,” then renamed after it was determined that the domain was unavailable–entirely on his own as a prototype. The project, Ms. Mayer had decided, would be a demonstration of how to incubate a start-up style project within Google’s increasingly bureaucratic structure, and kept it apart from Google Labs. This was arguably the company’s first mistake.