Google is buying Meebo, a company that focuses on user engagement. The purchase will add the popular Meebo Bar -- plus an engineering team -- to Google’s roster.
In a statement about the acquisition, Google cited “the Meebo team’s expertise in social publisher tools,” adding that it was “always looking for better ways to help users share content and connect across the Web, just as they do in real life.”
For its part, Meebo said in its announcement that it was “super-jazzed” about the purchase, adding that it has spent more than seven years "helping publishers find deeper relationships with their users.” According to the Web traffic site Quantcast, Meebo reaches about 229 million visitors worldwide each month.
The acquisition price is reported to be about US$ 100 million, but that figure has not yet been confirmed.
According to news reports, most of the non-technical staff was let go prior to the announcement, and there are reports that a key purpose of the acquisition was to get access to the engineering talent. Meebo CEO Seth Sternberg and CTO Sandy Jen are also expected to join Google.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based Meebo was founded in 2005, and originally became known for its browser-based Instant Messaging, which integrated a user’s accounts from Yahoo Messenger, AIM, MSN Messenger and ICQ into one buddy list. It also offered an API so that developers could write add-ons to the Meebo platform, as the company attempted to generate more real-time interactions, such as video- and voice-related chatting.
The Meebo Bar
Now, the company’s main product is its Meebo Bar, an overlay for Web pages that enables visitors on a Web site to readily share content through social media, and to create profiles with preferences indicating the kind of content desired. It also provides opportunities for publishers and advertisers to reach users of the Bar.
Sites that use the Meebo Bar include Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, Seventeen, AMC, the San Francisco Chronicle, Adweek, and others.
The acquisition could assist Google’s efforts in a number of areas. It offers new opportunities to connect publishers and advertisers with visitors, could help the development of more real-time tools on the company’s social networking site, Google+, and, as Facebook moves to create an archipelago of sites that uses its Facebook Connect platform, the Meebo Bar could help Google expand its web of connected sites.