Google tried to break into the social networking world dominated by Facebook with Google+, but it's not yet been able to carve out a large presence. Now, it might be making a move very soon that could help it gain users.
Google is in talks to purchase social networking platform Meebo for about $100 million, according to a report from AllThingsD.
If the purchase goes through, this would be Google’s second acquisition this year, after purchasing online payment company TxVia in April.
Google purchased 26 different companies in 2011, including Zagat for $151 million in October, Daily Deals for $114 million in September, and app developer Clever Sense, who are behind the restaurant suggestion app Alfred, for an undisclosed amount in December.
Google’s largest purchase, by far, had been manufacturer Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in August of last year.
Meebo has been around since 2005, in various incarnations. It began as an instant messaging platform called Meebo Messenger, which they still offer. In 2006 they launched a widget called “meebo me” which users were allowed to embed on their websites.
In 2007, Meebo created "Meebo Rooms,” allowing users to connect with each other in chat rooms, which could also be created by users. Meebo Rooms were discontinued in 2010.
Meebo then launched the “Meebo Bar” in 2009, letting users chat with their friends on different web sites, such as TV Guide, TMZ and Entertainment Weekly.
Right now, Meebo’s homepage seems to suggest it is going to morph into a social networking site, as it urges users to “create an interest profile to get new and timely information about the things that matter to you.”
Meebo has raised over $60 million total, including $25 million in series C funding in 2008 from Jafco Ventures, Time Warner Investments and KTB Ventures and and $27.5 million in series D funding in 2010 from Khosla Ventures, as well as past investors Sequoia Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Time Warner, and Jafco.
Why purchase Meebo?
Meebo seems like a company in search of an identity, but what it does provide Google already seems to have. For example Meebo has an instant messaging service. But Google already has Gchat.
What seems most likely that Google would buy Meebo to help shore up its Google+ service now that the company seems to be ready to break into the social networking game. In this sense, the purchase could wind up being mutually benefitial.
When asked if it had any comment, a Google spokesperson would only say, “We don't comment on rumor and speculation.”
(Image source: gigaom.com)