Google has been on an aggressive shopping spree this month and its latest acquisition is SocialDeck, a Toronto-based Mobile Game development company. Coincidentally, all of Google’s acquisitions in August (Angstro, Slide, Jambool, Like.com and now SocialDeck) are related to social networking and games, so what is the Sergey Brin-Larry Page duo up to?
I can already smell a Facebook-Zynga killer in the ranks.
The Google SocialDeck story was first reported by Inside Social Games. SocialDeck is located in Waterloo, Ontario (close to Google’s regional office) and was founded in 2008. The company claims that its games witnessed more than a million downloads last year. In gaming circles, it is best known for its Shake & Spell, Color Connect and Pet Hero titles. However, I believe that Google will be more interested in SocialDeck’s cross-platform gaming platform called Spark which works on Blackberry, iPhone and Facebook platforms. If Google can leverage Spark to add Android capabilities, it can boast of an unmatched universal gaming platform which works on all leading mobile platforms and social networks alike and offer “anywhere, anytime, anyone” gaming experience.
Is Google planning to challenge Facebook? I’m not so sure. I fail to appreciate how the co-existence of Orkut and a new social network will help Google revive its social media ambitions. Google isn’t best known for its social media efforts – Google Wave is no more, Google Buzz isn’t much popular either and Orkut’s popularity has been limited to few countries including India & Brazil. What’s worse for Google, Facebook has recently piped Orkut as India’s most popular social network.
WSJ says Google might use this acquisition to build a new gaming service that it has been pitching to various top online social gaming firms. Paid Content reveals an interesting point that nearly all of Google’s acquisitions since July have been in search and social segments, two areas where the company feels threatened by Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Facebook respectively. Google has never been shy of revealing its interest in gaming after it invested $100 million in Zynga, which builds games for Facebook and other social sites. Google is trying hard to build a definitive partnership with Zynga.
Google Games is surely not too far. As SocialDeck puts it, “Till then, Happy Shaking :)”