Google acquires social technology firm Slide

GoogleInternet giant, Google has announced the acquisition of a San Francisco-based social technology firm Slide. Google appears to be on an acquisition spree as it reported buying 20 firms in the first half of the year itself.

Google Engineering Director David Glazer wrote in a blog post, "We're excited to announce we've acquired Slide, a social technology company with an extensive history of building new ways for people to connect with others across numerous platforms online."

A Technology blog has estimated that the deal could be worth US$ 228 million. Google has not disclosed the financial details of the acquisition. The tech blog, Tech Crunch said that the likely price was USD 182 million and Google paid additional $ 46 million in employee retention bonuses adding up to the $ 228 million.

Slide was established five years ago by Max Levchin who is the co-founder of online payment service PayPal. Levchin said, "This is a tremendous opportunity for the two companies to come together to change the way people socialise on the web."

Slide focuses on developing virtual community applications such as SuperPoke and FunSpace that are offered on popular social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace.  

Analysst say that that purchase of Slide and $100 million investment in online gaming provider Zynga may be an indication that Google intends to use their services and tools in its reportedly upcoming social networking service GoogleMe.

The company has started attracting a number of online gaming vendors to to include their offering in the new service. Google is reportedly in discussions with Playdom Inc., Electronic Arts Inc.'s Playfish and Zynga Game Network Inc. Google has not revealed as to when the new service will be launched.

A Google official, Paul Adams earlier offered a preview to the upcoming ‘Google Me’ service. Mr. Adams released a 216-page document that analyses human interaction ways when they interact online and also focuses on social networks online and offline. Some expect Google to simply re-brand its Orkut networking site and put in extra features like Google Friend Connect, Mail, Voice, Buzz, Wave, Picasa, Latitude or Youtube to make a social networking site of choice.

Among other acquisitions, Goole bought ITA Software, a flight information software company, for USD 700 million in cash and Metaweb Technologies, an Internet information database comoany for undisclosed amount, last month.