Google on Monday announced Orkut has reached the end of the road. The service will shut down on September 30, 2014. Some will no doubt be sad to see it go but the majority of people are probably asking, "What the heck is Orkut, anyway?"
Orkut was Google's first foray into social networking. The service launched way back in 2004 - the same year that Facebook made its debut. The social network never really took off in the US but in places like Brazil and India, it was one of the most visited websites for a while.
As services like Google+, YouTube and Blogger took off, however, Orkut fell behind which is why Google has elected to discontinue it. As of today, it is no longer possible to create a new Orkut account and come September 30, current users will no longer be able to log in or export photos to Google+. API tools will also go dark on that day, we're told.
Existing users will be able to export their profile data, community posts and photos using Google Takeout through September 2016.
At present, roughly 50 percent of Orkut users are from Brazil, 20 percent reside in India while less than 18 percent live in the US.
The news comes at a time when the fate of Google+ is largely unknown. Back in April, it was revealed that Vic Gundotra, the head of Google+, was leaving the company. The service isn't nearly as popular as rival Facebook and more recently, Google has been positioning it as more of a user identity system for its various web services.