Google to Shut Down Slide Social Apps

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Apparently the age of "superpoking" social network friends and throwing sheep at them is coming to a close.

Google plans to shut down the social applications developed by Slide, a company it acquired a year ago for US$182 million. Slide products include SuperPoke and photo management and decorating tools like Slideshow and FunPix.

Slide's applications like Slideshow were very popular on MySpace during its heyday, and found success on other social networking sites, including Facebook, where the sheep-throwing feature of SuperPoke caught on, entertaining and annoying many.

But usage of Slide applications has apparently been declining and disappointing, according to a message Slide posted on its blog on Thursday.

"We created products with the goal of providing a fun way for people to connect, communicate and share. While we are incredibly grateful to our users and for all of the wonderful feedback over the years, many of these products are no longer as active or haven't caught on as we originally hoped," the post reads.

Slide's founder Max Levchin will also leave Google, as reported by The Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD blog on Thursday. Before launching Slide, Levchin co-founded PayPal and was its CTO.

After operating as an independent unit within Google since its acquisition in August 2010, Slide will be dismantled and its staff reassigned to work other Google products, Google told AllThingsD.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

The applications, including Photovine, Video Inbox and Pool Party, will be "retired" over the coming months, but Slide will allow its users to transfer their data "wherever possible" to other similar services, according to the Slide blog post.

Specifically, Slide will let users either download their photos or export them to a Picasa account.

"We are working to release this export feature over the coming weeks and, once added, users will have several months to take advantage of transferring their photos," the post reads.

More details will be provided in the coming days and weeks, Slide said.

Slide's acquisition was viewed at the time as a power move by Google to boost its weak position in social networking and social applications.

However, Google along the way apparently decided not to make much use of Slide as it developed its Google+ social network, which was launched in late June and remains in limited "field trial" available by invitation only.

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