Google Snaps Up Mobile Social-Networking Startup

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-05-12 Print this article Print

By acquiring the small startup, Google gains a service that connects friends and acquaintances through mobile text messaging.

Building onto its mobile and social-networking technologies, Google has bought the two-person startup company Google Inc., which confirmed the acquisition Wednesday, is providing no details about why it purchased or how the startups service will fit with Googles services. Financial terms also were not disclosed. offers a service that merges social-networking techniques with mobile phones so that users can connect with friends and friends of friends. Through, members can send text messages to the service to essentially broadcast their location via text messaging to their friends.
Google also has ventured into the social networking space with, a more traditional Web-based system for connecting with friends and acquaintances. grew out of a Google engineers experiment and was released last year.
Read more here about Google also has been expanding its mobile offerings for local search and maps, but, so far, had not provided a mobile component for social networking. Click here to read more about Googles mobile local search offerings. New York-based disclosed the acquisition with a series of questions and answers posted on the companys Web site. Founders Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert wrote that they had talked with angel investors and venture capitalists about expanding the company when they came upon Google. "The people at Google think like us," they wrote. "They looked at us in a Youre two guys doing some pretty cool stuff, why not let us help you out and lets see what you can do with it type of way." Calling themselves "Google superfans," the pair wrote that they will have more resources to build additional features for It appears that both will join Google and that will stay active, though a Google spokesperson declined to discuss those details. also has informed its users that the service will adopt Googles privacy policy and terms of service and has given them the option of opting out by deleting their accounts, Crowley and Rainert wrote. was founded in 2000, initially as a city guide based on user-contributed content, Crowley told Ziff Davis Internet News in a previous interview. Its mobile social-networking service grew out of a New York University graduate school project. The startup isnt alone in pursuing mobile social networking. New services such as Jambo Networks and SmallPlanet.nets CrowdSurfer also are using various mobile technologies to help friends and people with shared interested find and meet each other. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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