Google Buys Game Maker SocialDeck with Eye Toward Facebook

Google says it purchased SocialDeck, which makes games people play on the iPhone, BlackBerry and Facebook, the social network Google is challenging with its acquisitions.

Google confirmed Aug. 30 that it has purchased mobile social game maker SocialDeck, the latest piece in a puzzle the search engine is putting together to battle Facebook.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SocialDeck makes games such a "Pet Hero MD" and "Shake and Spell" for Apple's iPhone, Research In Motion's BlackBerry and Facebook.

These games allow "simultaneous game play across multiple mobile devices and social networks," according to SocialDeck's Website.

In a note confirming the acquisition on its Website, SocialDeck wrote: "We started this company with the goal of connecting friends through social games on all kinds of exciting new mobile devices."

The mobile and social aspects of SocialDeck are clearly what appeal to Google, which has been arming itself to assault Facebook's social network castle. Facebook has more than 500 million users and counting.

More troubling for Google than the social network's user base is that its Like button is popping up on thousands of Websites all over the world to let users vouch for brands. This lends itself well to Facebook's social advertising plans, threatening Google's ad plot online.

Accordingly, Google has spent much of the summer investing in or acquiring companies whose technology and talent it is using to form its so-called Google Me social network.

Google sunk $100 million or so into Zynga and acquired Slide for $228 million.

The company also picked up virtual currency startup Jambool and Angstro in recent weeks before setting its sights on SocialDeck.

A Google spokesperson told eWEEK about SocialDeck: "We were very impressed with the team's talent as well as the technically advanced platform engaging mobile experiences they've built.

"We're pleased to welcome them to Google, and we think they'll be great contributors in partnership with the Google Waterloo team as we continue to innovate in the mobile space."

Interestingly, Google made no mention of anything "social" in its statement. The company has kept silent about its social network plans, no doubt gearing up for a major launch, probably by the end of the year.