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June 05, 2012

Google Looks to Boost Google+ with Meebo Acquisition

By Rory Lidstone, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Google (News - Alert) is acquiring social networking company Meebo for a reported sum of $100 million in an attempt to increase Google+ activity. Details on the acquisition are currently sparse, but the official announcement was made Monday.

A statement from Google reads, "We are always looking for better ways to help users share content and connect with others across the Web, just as they do in real life. With the Meebo team's expertise in social publisher tools, we believe they will be a great fit with the Google Plus team."

Google launched its social network back in July 2011 as an invite-only service, managing to build a lot of hype to the point that many speculated Google+ would topple Facebook (News - Alert). After quickly building its user base to about 20 million by late July, Google opened the social network up to everyone in September 2011. Today, Google+ boasts 170 million total users. The problem isn't with growth, however, but rather with user activity, which is low enough to trouble the folks at Google.

In October 2011, Google+ vice president of Product, Bradley Horowitz, addressed Google+'s activity problem, stating that two-thirds of the activity on the site was private sharing, which is why the site seems largely unused. He also noted that Google+ was never meant to be a direct competitor with more popular services, Twitter (News - Alert) and Facebook, but rather it was meant to provide a better Google experience.

Google has tried its best with advertising and making Google+ easily accessible from users' Gmail accounts, but to no avail. Google's next step is the purchase of Meebo in the hopes of making Google+ as widely used as Facebook and its over 900 million active users.

It's been a busy week for Google as the search giant also purchased e-commerce rating site KikScore on Monday and partnered with Channel Intelligence in the launch of Google's new shopping experience.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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