Slide CEO Slips Away as Google Pulls the Plug

After two months of basking in the accolades Google+ has received, Google’s social media strategy is again the cause of some head-scratching.

The search engine has decided to shut down Slide, a social media app and game maker that it bought about a year ago. Even more eyebrow-raising: Its founder and chief executive Max Levchin is leaving.

Levchin is pursuing other opportunities, Google said. Meanwhile, most of Slide’s staff is remaining at Google to work on other ventures. Google did not return the E-Commerce Times’ request for further comment in time for publication.

In a blog post, Slide warned its customers that a number of its products and applications will be retired, including its flagship Slideshow and SuperPoke Pets, as well as more recent products such as Photovine, Video Inbox and Pool Party.

A Sudden Decision

The decision to shutter Slide reportedly came on rather suddenly. Google reportedly paid US$200 million for Slide when it purchased the company. With Google and Slide silent on the matter, the rumor mill has gone into overdrive regarding the circumstances behind the move.

For instance, some believe that Slide’s decision to release its more recent apps first on iOS instead of Android was the reason behind the move.

Another school of thought advocates the position that Levchin was the true target for Google when it acquired Slide, as it was floundering in its own attempts to roll out a viable social media strategy. As cofounder of PayPal, Levchin has significant cred in this area.

Then, Levchin was pushed out when Google+, headed by other executives at Google, proved to be the winning formula.

The news has also given rise to speculation that Levchin didn’t fit in with the new Google as defined by recently anointed CEO Larry Page — that is, a more focused Google less inclined to experiment and incubate new projects and technologies.

Of course, there is also the possibility that Levchin is, in fact, simply leaving to pursue other opportunities.

Wither Google+?

Whatever the reasons, the developments suggest Google feels it has its social media sea legs and is now willing to bet on a single product.

“Google has decided to place all of its social media efforts behind the development of Google+,” William Weaver, a professor of Integrated Science, Business and Technology at La Salle University, told the E-Commerce Times.

“Technology and software elements from previous Google projects such as Google Buzz and Google Wave have been incorporated into Google+, and it is possible that various elements designed by Slide may find their way into Google+ as well,” he said.

Also, Slide was not built solely on Levchin’s expertise, he said.

“In addition to the code assets acquired with the purchase of Slide are the programmers experienced in the design of social applications such as FunWall, Fortune Cookie and SuperPoke, designed for use with Facebook,” he noted. “It is expected that a majority of the former Slide employees will continue as Google employees assigned to projects throughout the company.”

Barely a Blip?

In all likelihood, the shuttering of Slide won’t rock Google’s boat, according to Lawrence Knorr, a faculty member at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.

“The closing of Slide will be met with questions like “What was Slide?”, he told the E-Commerce Times.

“Google purchased Slide in order to tap the social media applications engineering expertise of its key people,” he said. “Now Google is focused on rolling out Google+.”

12 Comments

  • I’m just one of the Millions of Loyal Pet Owners.. I have spent at least $10,000 on Super poke Pets Gold items…I do have those receipts as well as from Pay Pal..I just don’t understand that a Community that I helped build , can be just tossed in the garbage can…Where is my money going?? I Love my Pet and have become close to So many wonderful Pet owners that also take care of one or more pets..At one time I had 30 pets…That’s how addicted to the game I’ve become…Staying up until 3am to make sure I got the Gold I wanted in the Shop…Also on Thursday nights, the coin shopping….It started out as Wednesday being gold night…As time went on..Just about every night they had Gold…The thing is…I want to make sure that we have an Option for someone to Buy the Game and continue our Love for our pets and the Community that we have built…all the money we have spent may mean nothing to Google/Slide…But we as a SPP Nation have a voice too…..

    • Google you need to remember where you came from. You were once a small company like Slide was. If you continue with this massacre remember one thing, karma get ya, and she can be ruthless. If you really believe SPP is low on players you better look back at the waves we’ve just begun to make. Last time I checked this is still America, and we do have the right to stand up for what we believe in, and that’s only one thing SPP has done, and that’s unite not only the entire US, but the entire world!! Remember we all have friends, and family that may not play, but are willing to back us all up, and fight. My family is becoming anti Google, along with many other friends, and family’s of many other SPP players.

      SAVE SPP!!!

  • Google has badly misled the SPP community, encouraging them to buy whilst planning the SPP shutdown, putting unobtainable items, such as the 4th and 5th year badges for playing in the inventory, to make us believe in their sincerity. Google recently launched their home grown pet game, Pit Bull Fighting, to a howl of disgust from the general populace as it glamorised cruelty and abuse of animals, then soon after announced that SPP was to be scrapped. There can be no check for the morally objectionable at Google, as their behaviour clearly shows. Google are buying everything in sight and destroying what they feel they don’t need, and to hell with anyone who feels differently. Giant monopoly’s don’t think or feel, they crush opposition and make everything the same everywhere, not great for growth or new ideas. Google’s motto of ‘Don’t be Evil’ is lame, Google needs an Ethics Checker on the door to keep the evil from getting out.

  • Ok I have been a member of Superpoke pets since the beginning of the application. Before there was a petshop or a forum. I do not understand google’s logic behind shutting down slide. They have spent 200 million dollars to buy them out and then shut them down?!? There is an entire community of devote spp players fighting to save this application. To save our pets and our family! Superpoke pets is more than an application or pixels on the screen. For some of its players it is all they have. The only escape from their real life problems or illnesses. I understand for some people who do not play this game they do not understand what all the fuss is about but for our SPP community it is so much more than an app. It is a place where are friends live. Family that we have spent years with. Sharing births, deaths, holidays. Deaths of family members, natural disasters, remembrance of 9-11. Our virtual pets for some are the only pets they have. The only pets they are able to care for because of illness or disabilities. Or a reminder of a dear pet that has passed over rainbow bridge and can now live on because of this amazing application. Not only adults play this game but children too. I know personally of a dear child Abby who uses SPP as a source of rehabilitation and it helps!! I know there has to be someone out there who will hear our please and realize that we are faithful about this. We will never abandon this app..our family or our pets! Please hear our pleas! Oh and if you are worried about the money aspect trust me we will gladly buy gold items again etc..Just let us play. I have personally invested thousands of dollars in this game and would gladly spend again if the app continues to run. Whatever happened to people having a heart. To people caring how other people felt. Our pets dont want to die.

  • This is my story, and the reason that Super Poke Pets means so much to me… I am 45 years old and I have multiple sclerosis (MS). I have been disabled since January 2009, the initial attack starting 07/2008. MS has taken away many of the things that I once enjoyed. I suffer from depression and generalized anxiety disorder, directly related to my medical condition. I have permanent nerve damage in my dominant hand. The one thing that haunts me every single day is my visual impairment. It is a condition that is not correctable. I can no longer go to a movie theater to watch a movie. I can only watch t.v. for very brief periods. I am extremely sensitive to light. I used to do many arts & crafts, but no longer. I cannot crochet, cross-stitch, do beadwork, make miniature Christmas trees and ornaments, do jigsaw puzzles, and I am no longer able to volunteer to support our Armed Forces. I cannot read a book unless it is on my laptop or via my e-reader.

    When I first started using Facebook, I used to play many other games besides Super Poke Pets, but they became overwhelming and I had to stop. The only game that I have continued to play is SPP and there are times when I am unable to play because of the challenges I have to face every day with MS. I started with a little dragon named Lancelot, and that was just the coolest thing to me because I like to read Fantasy. Later, I added two kitties because I own two very real cats, full of spunk and personality. I added a bunny just for fun. I love each and every one of my SPP pets. They are always there when I am having a bad day. Playing with my pets and visiting my friends’ pets is a great stress reliever. It takes my mind off of my worries for a little while. And if you don’t know much about MS, stress and MS do not go well together, so SPP is a very calming and therapeutic game for me. My husband and son know how important Super Poke Pets is to me and they are happy knowing that I have found something that is fun, social, and allows me to be creative. My habitats don’t get re-decorated as often as I’d like.. I have limits.

    Every day with MS is different, and everything that I do comes with a price. My friends’ habitats inspire me, they make me laugh, they make me gasp, and sometimes they even make me cry. I visit the "Gallery" often to see even more habitats. I guess that you could say that our pets are like an extension of ourselves, or in some cases, complete opposites, because it’s fun. My pets and their habitats are reflections of my thoughts, feelings, and current events. I’ve done many tributes to honor our armed forces, including the recent helicopter crash that took SO many lives, including the life of a Service Dog. My husband loves football and I made a habitat just for him when the Pittsburgh Steeler’s went to the Super Bowl. He loved it. Some habitats I make just for myself to ease the pain and grief of losing a loved one, or I just do whatever comes to mind to escape reality for awhile. My pets are there when I can’t sleep, when I’m in pain, when I’m alone, or when I’m depressed, 24/7, 365 days a year.

    Some habitats are just silly fun; something most people don’t do enough of in our present society of constantly rushing, busy, busier and busiest. I used to be a part of that fast-paced world, so I can understand how SPP can relieve stress from work, family, or school. There are endless possibilities to creating a pet’s habitat, whatever and wherever you can imagine. Remember "Pure Imagination," the song sung by Gene Wilder in the original movie, "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory?"… ‘If you want to view Paradise, simply look around and view it, Anything you want to, do it… Want to change the world, there’s nothing to it.’" Super Poke Pets has made a difference in my world since February 2009. It has made a difference for many, many other people as well. The Super Poke Pets Community isn’t just a little "drop" in a bucket. The last member count that I recall was over 170 MILLION users worldwide.

    Saving Super Poke Pets is a cause worth fighting for. No matter how great and powerful "the google" might be, I will join my single voice with the rest of those fighting to save our pets and our community, and I hope that our voices merge together to match the sound of a roaring, raging sea.

  • Easy, sell it to Google! Then stripe the game (Super Pole Pets) down to nothing then tell the world it is a loosing venture!

    In three years Max Levchin turn SPP into $783M, but Google cannot manage it for a year without a loss or even breaking even?

    Maybe Google needs to turn the game over to it’s player, "The Soccer Moms" as Max mistakenly called us. Us Soccer Moms KNOW how to work within a budget and still come out ahead!

  • Hi, I’m one of thousands of SPP (Superpoke! Pets)players, and I’m very upset about the News that Google is shutting down the very best, or should I say the only Social gaming site like it on the WEB today. Not only have millions of people put there hard earned cash into this app, but many of us are disabled,(physically, and/or Mentally),retired, terminally ill, or just your everyday working stressed out individuals, that finds peace of mind (a place to relax, and forget about our issue’s no matter what those issue’s are). My particular story on how this social site has helped my life for the better,is that I’m a 31 year old women that became physically disabled in 2003, and I also have suffered with severe depression, anxiety, and mood swings my hole life in which working helped out a lot, well after being taken out of work, I became isolated to my home because I’m unable to drive due to panic attacks I get when I try. Therefore while my Husband had to get a job where he was gone 3 to 4 days out of the week, and our Daughter was in school my mental state began to get worse, and before I found SPP I was to the point of sleeping most the day, getting up at about 3pm when our Daughter would get home from school, I’d cook dinner, and after putting my daughter to bed at 8 pm, id go right back to bed, just to do the same thing over again. After I found the game, and started meeting the wonderful people that were players of SPP, and hearing that many were in the same situation, and many others in worse situations, while my friendships grew I found myself getting up just to look forward to talking with my friends, and for those days I was in no shape to talk to others, I’d just enjoy the time decorating my pets habitats, and gardening. It may sound silly to an outsider, but for me this game saved my life. I fear without it I’m going to go back to my old ways. I’m not the only one that feels this way. Also the money I put into the game will be for nothing!! I was a smoker, and in Feb. of 2010 I became very ill for the entire month, so I had no desire to smoke when I got better. Although my husband continued to smoke I decided since we were saving money by me quitting I made a deal with him, that I get an allowance of 40.00 to spend on my game, the reason I decided I wanted to put the money in the game, was to help keep it up, and running, but of course non of us new that Google would be buying out slide, and killing the app a year later. Here Google is telling the world there removing all the slide programs but one, oddly the one there choosing to keep was created out of China by the Slide team for Google, anyway they want the world to believe that none of the other Slide apps/ or programs, have caught on as they’d hoped it would. Well I’m sorry to say that’s just not true, Google says they didn’t expect this to happen, well that’s awfully funny, cause back in June on the 6th (supposedly Google had nothing to do with this decision anyhow) the SPP team announced that due to SPP’s current status, that they have no more new content to add to the game. Although many of us disagreed, cause they had started a monthly flower fairy that with Gold fertilizer we’d grow a flower fairy of the monthly birth flower, and now our flower fairy collection will never be complete they only created them till June. Also we all had many new idea’s of items, so really in my opinion this was an excuse that made no sense to any of us. Also I’d like to add what kind of company that’s bringing in thousands a month decides to stop creating new item’s/content even though they have thousands of people begging them not to take all new content away?? I mean they have tons of people asking to keep take our money and they basically say no, and they did say there was NOTHING we could do to change there mind. Oh, and there reason was that SPP had reached there goal of being a mature, and self running game thanks to the amazing players that made a little app into the great community it is today,and they felt it would be fine to run on it’s own with little maintenance required, and for us not to worry cause there we’re no plans whatsoever to shut down the site. Well of course we all got upset, because we felt by them removing all gold items, and new content that first of all some would loose interest, and for second we felt by them turning off all profitable features that this was the beginning of the end of SPP. Well we were reassured dozens of times if not more that SPP was going nowhere, and they also encouraged those that didn’t have the membership benefits to the game, that was added after Google bought slide called the VIP membership, this membership cost 4.99 a month, and many of us were paying that price for almost a year, well if we still had the membership on June 30th we’d continue to have it for free, so many people that didn’t have it went ahead, and spent the extra 4.99. Not to mention that the month of June SPP continued out that month with Gold, and coin releases as normal, but slowly releasing less items on the release days, then on July 1st the only people that could still buy gold had to have gold bars remaining in there accounts, and they would have the month of July to spend what they had left also there would be no refunds given. How odd is that the month of August comes, and this would be the first month that SPP would be running on it’s own with no more gold buying options the way they said was there goal from the creation of SPP then on the 25th we get the horrible News we were all in fear of back in June after there original Post on important changes. Now tell me this how can Google fairly say that this change didn’t work out as planned? This was literately the first month that SPP was running the way they changed it to run, and 25 days into it they say it’s not working!! Is this fair, I mean how could they honestly know if the change is working or not, when the first real month of the new SPP they decide 25 days in that it’s not working, not to mention it’s the end of Summer, and all our kids are getting ready to go back to School, and our lives were just transitioning back to our normal freedom schedule, where we were just getting back into the swing of things by beginning to get used to playing freely again. Also we were just getting used to the changes, and having faith that they were telling the truth that SPP was going nowhere. Now, don’t we have the right to feel as though we were lied to, and that back in June they knew of these plans, but just wanted to squeeze what more money they could out of us before they ripped our hearts out.

    My questions are simple, if SPP is already well established, and a mature game with no need for much help from the slide team, then why doesn’t Google take this well loved, and still played by thousands game, and put it on there new gaming site Google+, or why can’t they just leave the site completely in our hands, since we pretty much run it already, and go do what projects that Google wants to put the them on, and just from time to time check in, and do the little maintenance that they say the game requires. I forgot to mention that the slide team has a program where players are able to monitor the forums, so really all they do is make up a few games to play each month, staff rewards, and give a little more support to the forums, but really if they just create a way for the mods to have full control on running the forums, then we can live without there little involvement, or sense Google is shutting us down anyway, then why can’t they just give us the game, and we can make it a non profit organization, or something like that, then we both win. Google still will get there tax write off, and we get to keep our community that gives us home bound people our social interaction. Honestly without this game there are many that may die, because there Dr’s are amazed they’ve lived as long as they have.

    There are people that play the game, and have the computer smarts it takes to run it right. Well I hope I’ve gotten my point across, and given somethings to think about. All we want is to keep our game, is that really so much to ask?? If the Slide team has been honest with us, and SPP really isn’t costing Google much to keep it up, and there not taking all the slide programs away instead of keeping one, keep 2. I hope many other spper’s follow me, and post there comments as well.

    Love to all my SPP family!!

    God Bless all!!

    Amber 😉

  • Hmmmmmm……..Sprint did the same thing. I guess Google has never heard of "don’t put all of your eggs in the same basket". Since I paid over thousands of dollars into Super Poke Pets which is getting the ax…all I have to say to the CEO is I hope your android app falls on it’s face. You are getting too big for your britches and it is repeated historically that a fall shall come. You may want to rethink Slide…we won’t be shut down without a lot of noise and a big fight as many news medias are bringing to light.

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