Google Buys Slide to Get Facebook Data
Google Aug. 6 agreed to acquire social application provider Slide, ostensibly to challenge Facebook's social network hegemony. Even with Zynga and Slide, Google has its work cut out.Google Aug. 6 said it agreed to acquire social application provider Slide, a move that strengthens rumors the search engine is gearing up for a major social networking assault versus Facebook. Google did not say how much it paid for the private company, but TechCrunch claimed the deal was worth $228 million, including $46 million in employee retention bonuses.
Slide makes game widgets and other entertainment applications for social networks such as Facebook and MySpace. The startup makes the popular SuperPoke, in which users throw virtual sheep at each other.
"As the Slide team joins Google, we'll be investing even more to make Google services socially aware and expand these capabilities for our users across the Web." Altimeter Group analyst Jeremiah Owyang told eWEEK Slide is a foothold into Facebook, allowing Google to access the data Slide's millions of users generated as a result of using Slide apps such as SuperPoke and Top Friends. "This is a smart buy for them and it leaves Facebook exposed," Owyang said, adding that Slide could be one of the conduits to connect Facebook to Google's eventual social network. The challenge, of course, is that Google is marshaling social services two or three years too late. Facebook has 500 million-plus users, many of whom are using applications and exchanging virtual goods. Facebook's Like button is proliferating across both obscure and well known Websites at a prodigious pace. Trying to steer users from Facebook is like Microsoft trying to steer users from Google. And everyone knows how that is working out. Even with Zynga and Slide, Google has its work cut out.