Google Acquires SocialDeck: What Does This Mean for Google’s Future?
It seems that in recent times, Google has made some mistakes when coming up with new programs. Google Accelerator, Google Answers, and Google Wave are all examples of programs that flopped. And with the recent merger of Yahoo and Bing, Google might be losing its grip on the search engine monopoly. However, it seems that Google may have something up its sleeve. Recent acquisitions reveal that the Internet giant has big plans for their social network platform that is currently under development. And it seems they are taking every measure to ensure that this next project of theirs won’t be a flop, and can even rival social media giant Facebook.
This is evident by the fact that Google recently purchased social gaming developer SocialDeck, which is one of five acquisitions made in August. The popular games created by SocialDeck, such as Pet Hero and Color Connect, are available across a variety of platforms, including Blackberry, iPhone, and Facebook. SocialDeck uses their own social gaming platform technology, which enables simultaneous game play across mobile devices and social networks.
With the acquisition of SocialDeck, Google will be able to integrate SocialDeck’s games into their future social network. In addition, Google is looking to either purchase or work out deals with other social gaming companies which work over multiple platforms, such as Zynga, Playdom, and Playfish, which all currently produce games popular on Facebook, such as Mafia Wars.
It seems Google may have some big plans in store. Chris Morrison of mentioned the possibility that Google is working on a viral platform for the web and its own mobile devices, like Android. Earlier this summer, Google purchased social application developer Slide, and also has purchased other companies involved in social gaming and other aspects of social networking. Just days before acquiring SocialDeck, Google purchased Angstro, which developed , an address book that combines a user’s connections from social networks. Google also has acquired Jambool, which makes “virtual currency,” and visual shopping engine . Each acquisition is another piece to the puzzle of what Google is planning.
Google’s activity has been generating a lot of buzz over the Internet. Many speculate, “Will this social network,” rumored to be called Google Me, “be the ultimate social network? Will it dethrone Facebook as king of social media?” While the growing popularity of Facebook caused many people to flee from MySpace, there is no guarantee we’ll see people fleeing from Facebook to join Google Me in the same manner, but it’s certainly a possibility. With confusing and ever-changing privacy policies, some Facebook users might be eager to make the transition to a new social network. There are also rumors that the way Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was negatively portrayed in box-office smash The Social Network might turn away Facebook users if they have another option for social media.
While some are predicting success for Google, others are not so optimistic. Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of Search Engine Land, has taken note of Google’s unsuccessful attempts at social media, such as Google Buzz, and doesn’t foresee Google Me as an instant success. He states, “So far, Google’s failed to have a hit in the social-networking space, swinging and largely missing with both Orkut and Buzz. It’s unclear whether a third, new service (or a renamed Buzz) will do that much better.”
Negative press regarding Google Buzz alone has caused some to be doubtful that Google can gain a foothold in the realm of social media. Harry McCracken, the founder of tech site , believes that the failure of Buzz shows that people may not want their relationship with Google to be a foundation for social networking.
When Google’s social platform emerges, possibly later this year, we’ll see how these applications integrate and whether or not Google will achieve the success it’s after. If Google has made wise choices and can provide a social site that provides users what they want, and has features not found on Facebook, including clear-cut privacy policies, Google Me just might prove to not be another Google Wave.