Google Buys Game Maker LabPixies to Boost iGoogle in EMEA

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-04-28

Google April 27 agreed to purchase game software maker LabPixies in a move to fortify its popular iGoogle personalized homepage, which now boasts more than 100,000 gadgets.

LabPixies makes widgets for gaming, task and other smallish programs, which users can install on their iGoogle pages with a single click to kill some time.

The startup, which also makes widgets for Apple's iPhone, Google's Android platform and Facebook, was one of the first developers to create gadgets for iGoogle, according to iGoogle programmer Don Loeb.

Top LabPixies gadgets for iGoogle include FloodIt, CalorieCalc, ToDoLists, Trio, Minesweeper and Trivia.

"Over the years, we worked closely together on a variety of projects, including the launch of a number of global OpenSocial based gadgets," Loeb said. "Recently, we decided that we could do more if we were part of the same team, and as such, we're thrilled to announce the acquisition of LabPixies."

The LabPixies team will be based in Google's Tel Aviv office, helming the company's iGoogle work in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"Working at Google will help us scale to more users as well as giving our team greater opportunities," the LabPixies team wrote on its Website.

"Google and LabPixies teams have worked on many projects together including the launch of global OpenSocial based gadgets. The acquisition is an opportunity to learn from each other to bring more apps to users, help developers and improve the overall developer ecosystem."

The part about scale echoes a now-common mantra among several of Google's recent software acquisitions, small startups that believe a bigger palette will help them realize their dream, or at least provide them with a big enough payday so they can afford to leave and start another startup.

Google began its shopping spree last August by bidding for On2 Technologies, but since then Google has seemed to add a new company every three weeks.

For those keeping score, that list includes On2, display ad provider Teracent, real-time collaboration app maker AppJet, social search engine Aardvark, mobile mail app maker ReMail, collaboration software maker DocVerse, Web photo editor PicNik, video platform maker Episodic, visual search provider Plink and chipmaker Agnilux.

Google's $750 million blockbuster bid for mobile ad maker AdMob has yet to be approved and may well be struck down by the Federal Trade Commission.

Even so, Google has made its point clear; startups who have enjoyed some success on the Web that can advance Google's strategy across search, Google Apps, social Web and other Web services may find a new home at Google.

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