10 Failed Google Projects

When Google announced in late 2011 that it was shutting down the Jaiku service for good, a group of dedicated users set up an archiving system so account holders could preserve the conversations and content from the social site. Screen capture by HowStuffWorks staff

Google acquired microblogging site Jaiku in October 2007, but by January 2009, it was clear that Twitter was the official winner in the short post race [source: Kincaid]. A social network is only as powerful as the users themselves, and Twitter was already well on its way by the time of this acquisition.

The divorce between Google and Jaiku is surrounded by rumors of internal bad blood, but either way, this Finnish import -- so-named because the microblogging aspect makes its messages look like haiku -- was open-source after 2009. In 2011, Google announced that it was shutting down Jaiku for good, effective Jan. 15, 2012 [source: Horowitz]. Perhaps in the same way that the MySpace graveyard has over the years become a home-base headquarters for smaller unknown bands -- a development presaged by MySpace's music-integration technology, which still sets it apart from most social networks that aren't actively concerned with music -- it could have become something new. Now, we'll never know.