Google Snaps Up Mobile Social-Networking Startup

 
 
By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-05-12
 
 
 
Building onto its mobile and social-networking technologies, Google has bought the two-person startup company Dodgeball.com.

Google Inc., which confirmed the acquisition Wednesday, is providing no details about why it purchased Dodgeball.com or how the startups service will fit with Googles services. Financial terms also were not disclosed.

Dodgeball.com offers a service that merges social-networking techniques with mobile phones so that users can connect with friends and friends of friends. Through Dodgeball.com, 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 Orkut.com, a more traditional Web-based system for connecting with friends and acquaintances. Orkut.com grew out of a Google engineers experiment and was released last year.

Read more here about Orkut.com.

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 Dodgeball.com 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 Dodgeball.com. It appears that both will join Google and that Dodgeball.com will stay active, though a Google spokesperson declined to discuss those details.

Dodgeball.com 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.

Dodgeball.com 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.

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