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Google Buys Meebo and Its Web Site Bar

Google Buys Meebo and Its Web Site Bar
By Barry Levine

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The reach of the Meebo Bar is huge, according to the company. Meebo says its Bar is presented to half of the U.S. population that is on the Internet. Google's No. 1 competitor in the social space, Facebook, is similarly working overtime to build a network of sites that use Facebook's social features. Google has acquired Meebo for a reported $100 million.
 



Google is chomping down the Meebo Bar. On Monday, the technology giant announced that it was buying Meebo, a user engagement company best known for its content-sharing Meebo Bar that appears on many Web sites.

In a statement on its Web site, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Meebo said that they've "had a blast" over the last seven years, helping publishers "find deeper relationships with their users." News reports indicate the price tag was about $100 million, but that has not been confirmed by either company.

The Meebo Bar

In its statement about the purchase, Google praised the "Meebo team's expertise in social publisher tools," adding that it believed the team "will be a great fit with the Google+ team." Meebo reportedly laid off most of its non-technical team prior to the announcement, and several Google observers have indicated that acquisition of the engineering team was a key reason for the purchase.

Meebo started in 2005 with a browser-based instant messaging client, which allowed users to simultaneously log into IM accounts from Yahoo, AIM, MSN Messenger, and ICQ, and consolidate them into one buddy list. It later added multi-user chat rooms, mobile apps, and APIs that allowed third-party developers to extend its platform.

Currently, its main product is the Meebo Bar, an overlay strip that is added on top of such Web sites as TV Guide, Seventeen, TMZ, Entertainment Weekly, and thousands of others. The strip makes it easier for users to share content via social media sites Facebook and Twitter, offers additional content, and displays interactive advertisements.

Those features of the Meebo Bar, in addition to the value of the engineering team, are most likely key to Google's interest in the company. The technology giant wants to increase its profile in social media sharing, develop new social publishing tools for its Google+ social networking site, find new ways to connect advertisers with visitors, and enlarge the Web of sites that are part of Google's extended network.

Google 'Didn't Need to Buy Users'

The reach of the Meebo Bar is huge, according to the company. Meebo says its Bar is presented to half of the U.S. population that is on the Internet. Google's No. 1 competitor in the social space, Facebook, is similarly working overtime to build a network of sites that derive some of their social features from Facebook's API.

Brad Shimmin, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, said that the technology talent could well have been the most valuable part of the deal, given that "large companies like Google have to continually meet their customers' expectations." He noted that Google "didn't need to buy users."

Meebo has raised an estimated $65 million in venture capital funding, and, according to The Wall Street Journal, was valued at $200 million during a funding round in 2008.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

tyrina:

Posted: 2012-07-12 @ 11:24am PT
I hate it. I want meebo messanger to come back right now! Please!

TGB:

Posted: 2012-06-21 @ 11:10am PT
What a waste of money. A chat client, duplicating the features of the open-source libpurple library, and a single big annoying ad to be adblocked.

Google has more money than sense.



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