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Google social networking plans progress with gaming discussions

30th Jul 2010
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Google is in discussions with a number of leading online game producers to incorporate their offerings into its proposed social networking site, which is expected to try and take on Facebook.

Sources told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that the search giant is currently talking to Playdom, Electronic Arts’ Playfish and Zynga Game Network, a company in which it recently took a financial stake, to include social games in its forthcoming ‘Google Me’ site. The plans have yet to be finalised, however, and it is currently unclear when the vendor will launch the gaming options.

But the WSJ pointed out: "Game developers pay Facebook 30% of the earnings from virtual-good purchases in their games. Google already has an online payment mechanism called ‘Checkout’ that, in theory, it could use to collect payments for social games on its platform."

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt declined to comment on the story, but suggested that the battle for the ‘social web’ was far from over. "Do you think the last search engine has been built? Do you think the last social network has been built? The rule of the internet is it never stops," he said.

Schmidt added that the organisation had "looked very carefully" at the question of whether Facebook was a rival, but came to the conclusion that they did not compete directly for advertising dollars. As a result, to argue that the two companies were adversaries was "mathematically false".

Moreover, the fact that Facebook was bringing more users online was good for Google, he claimed. "Facebook users use more Google products than any other users. You’re assuming that if they do well, we do poorly, but winners tend to all do well," Schmidt said.

The WSJ noted, however, that: "Speculation is growing that Facebook could launch an advertising network across millions of other sites where the networking service is already integrated. That would put Facebook into competition with Google’s AdSense business, which serves ads to millions of sites."


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