Google to Shutter Orkut
Google today said it will close its Orkut service effective September 30. Orkut is a social network of sorts that embodies communities, games, and social interactions. It has been around for a decade. Usage in the U.S. declined over the last six to eight years, but Orkut remained popular in other markets, such as Brazil and India. According to Google, the dedicated Orkut mobile application will no longer be available as of today, but those who've downloaded it will continue to be able to use the app and Orkut until the September 30 shutdown date. Google suggests users take advantage of its Google Takeout service to download and archive any content they may want saved. Account data will be inaccessible after September 30. Google will preserve the open community threads, and suggests users transition their content and communities to Google+. Google often kills underperforming products.
Google Debuts 'Spaces' App for Group Conversations
Google today introduced a new app called Spaces, which is meant to facilitate group conversations around specific subjects. Google imagines the app could be helpful to book clubs, or to people planning trips, and so on.
Comments and Smart Suggestions Come to Google Photos
Google today said it is making Google Photos more social for both Android and iOS devices. The latest version of the app adds commenting and smart suggestions to shared albums.
Google Refocuses Google+ Around Communities and Collections
Google today revised its Google+ social network to focus on the two areas that garner the most interest among users: communities and collections. The changes are reflected across the web, Android, and iOS apps, which have been stripped down to simpler formats that make it easier to discover and participate in shared interests.
Google Adds Shareable Lists to Maps
Google today made it easier to keep track of and share favorite spots thanks to a new list tool in Google Maps. Maps users can take advantage of pre-set list categories, such as Want to Go or Favorites, as well as create their own.