Google abandons social service Aardvark with shutdown of Labs

NOTE: GrowthBeat -- VentureBeat's provocative new marketing-tech event -- is a week away! We've gathered the best and brightest to explore the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the full scoop here, and grab your tickets while they last.

Today, Google announced it will shut down social question-and-answer service Aardvark at the end of September.

Aardvark will join several other soon-to-be-discontinued services as part of the closing of Google Labs.

“Aardvark began as a small experiment in a new kind of social search and over a few years blossomed into a service that made millions of connections between people to answer each other’s questions,” an Aardvark spokesperson wrote in a blog post today.

“It was a great experience in seeking to combine a broad vision for the future of technology with a rigorous user-centered design process. Over this time, we learned a lot about creating and maintaining online communities and how to facilitate sharing of knowledge between people.”

Under the direction of new CEO Larry Page, Google declared that it would re-prioritize its product offerings. Part of that includes the shut down of Google Labs, what Google previously referred to as “a playground where our more adventurous users can play around with prototypes of some of our wild and crazy ideas.”

Aardvark was acquired by Google for $50 million back in February 2010. The service let users ask and answer questions from people in their personal social network through a Google Chat window. A day after the acquisition news came through, Aardvark was moved to Google Labs.

Google says although Aardvark is closing, Google will “continue to work on tools that enable people to connect and discover richer knowledge about the world.” The Aardvark team appears to have moved most of its focus to the Google+ social network.

“It has been gratifying to see how well [Google+] is doing. Even in these early stages, Google+ has already become a great place to share knowledge online, eclipsing the original vark.com! And there is much more to come very soon,” the Aardvark rep wrote.

“In this and other projects at Google, the Aardvark team remains committed to developing powerful tools for connecting people and improving access to information.”

Did you ever use Aardvark? Are you sad to see it go?


We're studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we'll share the results with you.