July 28, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – There’s been a lot of talk lately over Google’s acquisitions, both real and speculated. After announcing its plans to acquire travel software firm ITA, Google was seen as taking steps to launch itself into the travel industry in a big way.

Now, with speculation that Google is “in talks with several makers of popular online games as it seeks to develop a broader social networking service,” the company’s latest acquisition strategies are seen to be more forward attacks on its newest and biggest rival, Facebook.

” … Google has been in discussions with top developers like Playdom Inc, Electronic Arts Inc’s Playfish and Zynga Game Network Inc, a company in which Google recently took a financial stake, to offer their games on a new service it is building,” reports LiveMint.com, citing the Wall Street Journal as a reference point. The article does caution that “it is unclear when Google may launch the new gaming offering and the plans are not finalized.”

“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 and others,” the article continues, echoing reports that Google is taking competition from Facebook and Twitter — which are themselves working hard to monetize their websites and even compete with Google on SEO — very seriously.

Google’s possible acquisition of new online gaming platforms has dominated industry talk for weeks now. Specifically, the media is talking about the rumor of Google’s potential buyout of the popular “web 2.0” gaming network Zynga — maker of Facebook’s ridiculously popular “Farmville” game, and also the maker of popular Facebook poker games.  

“Zynga, led by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Marc Pincus, is the hottest start-up in Silicon Valley, on track to generate $835 million in revenue this year and contemplating an initial public offering,” explains the L.A. Times. “Internet giant Google Inc. is rumored to have invested in Zynga, with which it is exploring a partnership.”

Could this make Google more competitive with the likes of Facebook, which has been making huge strides in its quest to challenge Google’s search marketing power? No doubt, since it would also give Google a position inside Facebook.

But it also changes the playing field in a way that’s relevant to online gambling: As games proliferate on social networking sites like Facebook, online gamers are viewing them in new ways. True, real-money poker games aren’t available on Facebook (yet), but the day that they are is absolutely possible — especially given the popularity of non-money poker games at that site. And now it’s also possible that those games would be officially offered by Google itself, on the world’s biggest social networking site, and the home of its now-primary competitor.

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