Google slides Slide into the bin after spending $228m

Levchin refuses to mourn as he drives off in gold car


Google has ditched social network tech outfit Slide just one year after the company spent $182m on it, plus a further $46m in staff retention bonuses, in August 2010.

As we wrote at the time, the takeover appeared to signal Google's plans to have yet another stab at creating a social network that its users might actually like.

Tellingly, the Slide acquisition came just 48 hours after the ad broker binned its Wave tool, the email-IM-and-everything-else-Web-2.0-splatter-gun platform which proved to be an unpopular product that no one wanted to play with.

Wave arrived in May 2009, and at launch it excited some Web2.0 fans in part because the product was initially made an invite-only playground.

Similarly, Google has used the same marketing trick with Google+, but this time it seems that many more people are currently engaging with that product. At the last count it was estimated that some 27 million users are now signed up to it, all of whom need public profiles, thereby imprinting their names firmly on the Google brain.

All Things Digital, which broke the news about Slide, reported that the company would simply be dissolved and added that its boss, Max Levchin – the man who co-founded PayPal – was leaving Google.

This fact was later confirmed by Levchin on Twitter, when he retweeted his wife's comment about the demise of Slide:

"As sad as the news is, I hope we can all keep in mind that mourning at this stage is probably inappropriate," it reads.

Google senior Chrome veep Sundar Pichai followed up with a tweet of his own to Levchin.

"Can't wait to see what you are up to next, will miss you here at Google. And yes the feature you want in Chrome will come soon:)"

But the Slide buy turned out to be an expensive mistake for Google as the company, which operated as a separate unit at the Chocolate Factory, appeared to have caught a nasty Web2.0 cold while based there.

Much like the failed Wave product, apps developed by Slide didn't catch on in the way Google might have hoped. It didn't help that the independent outfit wasn't folded into Vic Gundotra's social division, which was created by Google boss Larry Page in April this year.

Instead, Slide reported directly to Sergey Brin, who just so happened to be the man tasked with working on the company's business strategy when Page announced his management rejig.

ATD reported that Slide has about 100 employees on its books, some of whom are expected to take up jobs at YouTube. ®

AncientWeb2.0historynote

Here's Levchin in an interview with Mr Orlowski back in October 2004 when he talked about how the concept of a social network was simply a "feature" that gets lots of initial interest until the excitement or, dare we say, Buzz dies down...

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