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Not Playing: Google Reportedly In Talks With Social Gaming Companies To Build Facebook Killer

Rumors that Google is quietly developing a Facebook killer, dubbed "Google Me," have been circulating for about a month. Now, sources tell The Wall Street Journal that the search giant is in talks with makers of "popular online games" to create "a broader social-networking service that could compete with Facebook."

"By this point everyone and their mother knows that Google is trying to create a Facebook-type social networking service," writes TechCrunch. "It's been confirmed by Quora's Adam D' Angelo, given an ETA by a source internal to Google, and a name, 'Google Me' by [ founder] Kevin Rose."

As Search Engine Land points out, "There were reports two weeks ago that Google has invested $100 million-plus in Zynga, makers of the uber-popular Farmville game." According to The Journal, game developers -- including Playdom, Electronic Arts' Playfish, and Zynga -- could serve to flesh out a new service Google is already building.

Rather than face Facebook head on, "Google seems to have settled on a strategy to assemble the pieces of a social offering," Daily Finance suggests. "Google Music is another big one on the horizon -- hoping it can string them together later. Google already has powerful email, IM, and Web-based sharing products. If it can build up its entertainment offerings, it may be able to piece together a challenge to Facebook."

Asked about Facebook, Google head Eric Schmidt tells The Journal: "The world doesn't need a copy of the same thing."

"Duh," counters Social Beat. "Of course, Google will have to differentiate what it does, and it will likely do so by recruiting people for its social network through every Google property, from search to Gmail."

While still unconfirmed, The Journal explains, "Google's push into social games represents the latest attempt by the Web-search leader to capture users and advertising dollars that are increasingly flowing to social networking, an area dominated by Facebook, Twitter Inc. and others." As ZDNet notes: "Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have the one thing that advertisers love most -- eyeballs.




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