Google+ may be the new star, but the search engine’s original social network. Orkut isn’t getting pushed aside completely. Orkut will continue to be invested in and may even become integrated with the new Google + social networking service.
A spokesperson for Google said “Orkut and Google+ are different products, and will both exist. Over time we’ll determine what makes the most sense in terms of integrating these products.”
Orkut has been around since 2004, and though it may have flopped in the U.S., the older social networking site has more than a hundred million users worldwide with most in India and Brazil. Facebook, with its now 750 million active users worldwide, has begun inching on Google’s territory as many Brazilians have begun to migrate and create Facebook accounts.
An IDG article points out that Google had to create an entirely new social network from scratch to compete with Facebook. The article also says that the improved privacy features for Google+ are what the search engine believes may be just what it takes to give Facebook a good fight.
Some have said that Orkut’s demise was immanent as soon as Facebook made a stronger international push into Brazil and India. Now at least the site will be limping along as the Google spokesperson wrote that, “we will continue to invest in the product.”
The IDG article also speculates whether Google will have a way to export friends’ lists and other data to their Google+ account, or if any other features will be interchangeable such as Google+ vaunted privacy features. It’s not clear on how long Google believes this parallel strategy will be a viable option, but it’s good they’re not scrapping another project.
Fun fact: Orkut was named after a Turkish Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten.