Google is closing down its Google Lively service, which allows users to interact in virtual rooms they design using their own avatars (characters).
Google only launched Google Lively in July, but it now says it wants to spend its resources on "core" products and services instead.
Social networking users will be disappointed to hear that Google does not see this market as a priority, despite the millions of extra social networking users signing up to such sites every year.
Google said of its decision, "In July, we launched Google Lively because we wanted users to be able to interact with their friends and express themselves online in new ways.
"Google has always been supportive of this kind of experimentation because we believe it is the best way to create groundbreaking products that make a difference to people's lives. But we have also always accepted that when you take these kinds of risks not every bet is going to pay off."
It said, "Despite all the virtual high fives and creative rooms everyone has enjoyed in the last four-and-a-half months, we have decided to shut Lively down at the end of the year. It has been a tough decision, but we want to ensure that we prioritise our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business."
Lively.com is closing after 31 December, so at least users who do not get out much can still have a virtual new year's eve party in their room.