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Google Acquires IM Service Meebo; What Next?

Instant messaging turned social sharing company Meebo has been acquired by Google. While the financial details of the deal weren’t disclosed, a report from TechCrunch pegs the price at $100 million, which is the same price rumored earlier this month.

As part of the deal, Google said that Meebo’s product team will be joining the Google+ team to use their expertise to build publisher tools for Google+, although there was no further information on these publisher tools. It said:

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+ team. We look forward to closing the transaction and working with the Meebo team to create more ways for users to engage online.

Launched in 2005, Meebo started off as a web based IM client which allowed users to chat across multiple IM services like Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, ICQ and Facebook Chat. It then expanded its offerings by launching a flash-chat widget MeeboMe, a branded embeddable chat box Meebo Rooms (now defunct) and mobile apps on iPhoneAndroid and BlackBerry platform.

Meebo Bar: In 2009, the company launched a social toolbar Meebo bar which allowed publishers to engage with their audience and users to chat with their friends on websites. This bar also offered a persistent ad placement for advertisers, therefore doubling up as an advertising platform. The company had partnered with several sites such as TMZ, Better Homes & Gardens, MajorLeagueGaming, Philly.com among others to integrate Meebo Bar onto their websites and had claimed that it reaches half of the US’s Internet population through this partnership. The company had later extended this service as a self-serve solution to all publishers.

Besides this, Meebo had acquired an online ad measurement and targeting firm Mindset Media in November 2011 and according to the latest figures, the company had about 100 million monthly active users which sends 90 million messages daily, and  250 million unique visitors as of November 2011. The company had raised $70 million from investors like Sequoia Capital, True Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Jafco Ventures, and Khosla Ventures.

What Next? As stated earlier, Google said that it will be using Meebo’s expertise to launch Google+ publisher tools. However, we are quite curious to see what these publisher tools will entail. It might be possible that Google launch a toolbar to allow users easily share content to Google+ and offer it as an advertising platform to allow advertisers create branded experiences on these toolbars. However, if Google does launch a similar toolbar, we are still skeptical if it will gain traction and appeal to users and publishers to engage with the toolbar.


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