Google Pumps Money into Zynga, Plans Social Gaming Service
So what's going on over at Google with regard to games? Back in April they hired industry veteran Mark DeLoura who now lists his current position as "Developer Advocate, Games at Google." Then over the weekend, TechCrunch reported that Google has invested $100-$200 million in Zynga, the company who makes Farmville, Frontierville and a host of other popular games available on Facebook. TechCrunch says Zynga will be the cornerstone of a service called Google Games which will launch later this year.
Zynga's games are heavily social, of course, which means Google Games will also be heavily social. Now, consider the Google Me rumors that have been circulating ever since Digg's Kevin Rose spilled the beans on Twitter (the tweet has since been deleted) and the pieces start to fit together. No one knows for sure what Google Me really is: it could be Google Profiles on steroids or it could be something brand new.
But it seems like Google has all the pieces at hand for a run at Facebook. The timeline functionality of Buzz, the Google Profiles personal info database (optional, please), Picasa for sharing photos and now this mysterious Google Games service to keep things sticky. Give people who're disgruntled with Facebook over privacy issues a new venue through which they can access their farms and who knows? Google might have a (long) shot at prying a viable number of people away from Facebook.