Google Drops Quickoffice Apps, Orkut Social Media Platform

Google is replacing the Quickoffice and Orkut services with other products that will give users similar functions but allow the company to streamline services.

Google streamlines services

Google is cutting out its Quickoffice document-conversion application and its 10-year-old Orkut social media platform as part of the company's efforts to constantly slim down its product offerings in favor or more popular services.

The Quickoffice news came in a June 25 post on the Google Apps Blog, which announced the removal of the Quickoffice apps for Android and iOS from their respective app stores in the coming weeks. The move is being made due to the recent integration of Quickoffice into the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides apps, according to the post. "Existing users with the app can continue to use it, but no features will be added and new users will not be able to install the app."

The demise of the Orkut social media platform, which was started back in 2004, was announced by Paulo Golgher, a Google engineering director, in a June 30 post on the Orkut Blog. Orkut was Google's first foray into social networking and originally began as a "20 percent" project, which is time set aside for employees to work on personal projects that advance the company's work and missions using as much as 20 percent of their work week. "Orkut communities started conversations, and forged connections, that had never existed before," wrote Golgher. "Orkut helped shape life online before people really knew what 'social networking' was."

But over time, Orkut has been passed in usage and capabilities by other Google products, including YouTube, Blogger and Google+, wrote Golgher. "Because the growth of these communities has outpaced Orkut's growth, we've decided to bid Orkut farewell (or, tchau). We'll be focusing our energy and resources on making these other social platforms as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them."

Orkut will be shut down on Sept. 30, 2014, as a service, but the online communities employed by users will live on, he wrote. "Until then, there will be no impact on current Orkut users, to give the community time to manage the transition. People can export their profile data, community posts and photos using Google Takeout (available until September 2016). Starting today, it will not be possible to create a new Orkut account."

As part of the Orkut shutdown, Google will preserve an archive of all public communities, which will be available online starting September 30, 2014, he wrote. Users who don't want their posts or name to be included in the community archive can remove Orkut permanently from their Google accounts, he wrote.

"It's been a great 10 years, and we apologize to those still actively using the service," wrote Golgher. "We hope people will find other online communities to spark more conversations and build even more connections for the next decade and beyond."

Google had acquired Quickoffice in June 2012 and quickly began a string of improvements to the services. Quickoffice allows users to work with their legacy Microsoft Office files by converting them into Google documents or by editing them directly in Quickoffice.

In September 2013, Google announced that its Quickoffice apps for Android and iOS users would no longer carry monthly fees under a new free for all policy announced by the search giant. Users still had to have a Google account to tap into Quickoffice so that they could edit Microsoft Office documents across their devices. Previously, Quickoffice Pro was available to iPhone and iPad users for $14.99 per month, while a Quickoffice Pro HD version was also offered for $19.99 per month. Those services were also available for free to Google Apps for Business customers who previously paid $50 a year per user.

In April 2013, Google expanded Quickoffice to Android and iPhone users, giving them the same capabilities to modify and edit Office documents on the fly.

In December 2012, Google announced that it was ending its free version of Google Apps for Business after deciding that most business users have been quickly outgrowing it and signing up for more fully featured paid accounts that offer additional services. The move came seven years after Google first began offering the free Google Apps services.

The debut of Quickoffice for iPads in December 2012 was a boon for Google Apps for Business users who wanted the ability to open and edit their Microsoft Office files on their iPads.

The demise of Quickoffice and Orkut are not the first time that Google has put an early end to existing services. The company has over the last several years conducted several housecleaning projects in which they shuttered a wide range of products.

In July 2013, Google closed down the Google Reader RSS reader, which inspired several unsuccessful petition efforts from fans to save the service. Google cited declining usage for the end of Reader.

In October 2012, it shut down a group of underutilized services, including AdSense for Feeds, Spreadsheet Gadgets and the Places Directory Android app, according to an eWEEK report at the time.

In July 2012, Google killed off the Google Mini enterprise search appliance, the iGoogle personalized home page and several other Web-based services as the housecleaning effort continued.