Aardvark, which was founded in 2007, provides individuals with a platform to ask questions and receive specific and relevant answers. For example, an Aardvark user can ask, “What is the best Italian restaurant in Manhattan?” and receive specific answers from friends that are familiar with Manhattan dining. Aardvark leverages social networks and extended social networks to provide relevant answers from knowledgeable individuals for each submitted question.
Larry Page recently announced that Aardvark, the social search engine Google bought for $50 Million dollars last February, is scheduled to cease operations September 30th. Aardvark is the latest company to face Larry Page’s axe while he attempts to streamline Google operations and refocus the company. Other divisions that Google recently eliminated include: Desktop, Fast Flip, Google Maps API for Flash, Google Pack, Google Web Security, Image Labeler, Notebook, Sidewiki, and Subscribed Links.
The shutdown of Aardvark is part of Google’s “fall spring-cleaning,” which will allow them to focus on improving end-users’ overall experience. Although Google invested a large sum in the purchase of Aardvark and the service had great potential, Google never fully tapped that potential. Ultimately, Google’s executive team decided that the service was causing them to lose focus and the need to streamline outweighed the future potential of Aardvark. They have indicated that the majority of the Aardvark team will now be focused on improving Google+.
Since Aardvark will shut down at the end of September, it is recommended that all end-users login to copy and save any information that they would like to preserve. Alternatively, users can send an email to Aardvark support and they will email you a bulk dump of your data. However, after September 30th, all data will be permanently deleted and lost.
Aardvark’s social search idea has resonated with online communities and impacted many influential social sites such as Quora and Jig. These influences will continue to felt long after our favorite little Aardvark is gone.