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August 26, 2011

Google Shrugs Off Slide

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

Google's (News - Alert) Slide is shutting down. No, not THAT one...the cool twirly metal slide installed at the company's headquarters that we all secretly wish we had at our places of work.

No, this is, a photo sharing software company that used to make apps for social networking but was acquired by Google a little over a year ago for $179 million. Slide was founded in 2004 by PayPal (News - Alert) co-founder Max Levchin, who personally invested $1 million in the new company. The rumor today is that Levchin is leaving the company, which has been operated as an independent unit within Google (sort of like YouTube (News - Alert)), dissatisfied with the minor role he's been relegated to within Google.

Google confirmed the departure. “Max has decided to leave Slide and Google to pursue other opportunities, and we wish him the best,” said a Google spokesperson. “Most of the team from Slide will remain at Google to work on other opportunities.”

While operating as an independent company contained within Google, Slide maintained its existing apps like SuperPoke Pets and continued to experiment with new ones such as messaging app Disco and photo-sharing app Photovine, which was released only last week, reports All Things Digital (News - Alert). However, none of the apps were particularly popular, hence Google's decision to mothball them.

Slide had about 100 employees, and All Things Digital says many of them will likely transfer into Google's YouTube decision.

While Google apparently had high hopes a year ago that Slide would be the means by which the company could comfortably enter the social networking arena and compete with Facebook, plans didn't come to fruition and Google+, the company's new social networking arm, was created largely without the help of Levchin or Slide technologies.

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Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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