The news has been announced two weeks ago that Google will close the social network Orkut by 30 September 2014. Orkut was very popular in Brazil and India before being overtaken by Facebook (TheNextWeb).
WHAT WAS ORKUT?
Originally, Orkut was developed by a Google employee, Orkut Büyükkökten, as a “20% project”, which allows Google employees to dedicate one fifth of their working time on their own projects. The social media network was launched in 2004, the same year than Facebook. Orkut and Facebook are very similar in terms of their goals: connect people and friends.
Orkut was one of the first social platforms having success in India and Brazil. In May 2014, 48.4% of traffic came from Brazil and 14.9% from India. The Brazilian community was so large that Google decided in 2008 to manage and provide Orkut via Google Brazil.
In 2007, traffic to Facebook and Orkut was similar, but since then Facebook has surpassed Orkut, even in Brazil and in India. At the end of 2013, Facebook accounted for 1.15 billion monthly active users, whereas Orkut accounted only for 44 million.
GOOGLE'S FOCUS ON GROWING SOCIAL PLATFORMS
According to Google, Orkut’s community was not growing as fast as other social platforms, such as YouTube, Blogger and Google+. Also, since the launch of the social network Google+ in 2011, Orkut has lost its specificities within the Google environment. Orkut was even redesigned to look more like Google+. With YouTube, Blogger and Google+, Google can offer integrated services on separate platforms. Google's goal has doubled: to keep users in a Google environment and to multiply platform for advertising.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
The shutting down of a still popular social platform shows the growing concentration of the social media market. Whereas some years ago, the trend was to multiply and test platforms, now big players want to focus on a few profitable platform, making them grow in terms of audience and services, specialising each of them and making a link between them to keep their audience in the same environment.
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