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Google's Social Acquisitions - SayNow is the Latest Conquest

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Last week, Google announced two more acquisitions of companies into their collective. SayNow, a voice/telephone service was announced first. The very next day, YouTube, one of Google's many properties, announced the acquisition of fflick, a 6-month-old startup that used sentiment analysis to recommend movies to people. Both of these companies are social services.

What could Google want with such companies?

Fellow blogger Jonathan Allen speculated on Google's reasons for wanting fflick. It's sentiment analyzing engine is not only beneficial socially, but could also help Google avoid future situations like the embarrassment of the DecorMyEyes story last year.

SayNow, on the other hand, seems purely social. For the past five years, SayNow has been a leader in voice-based products.

Boasting over 15 million users, SayNow's biggest claim to fame is allowing the general public to leave voice messages directly in the inboxes of some of pop culture's biggest celebrities and also for those same celebrities to broadcast messages back to their fans' inboxes.

This seems modest in comparison to the plethora of features offered by Google Voice. But consider that most of SayNow's services were integrated into MySpace, Twitter and mobile applications. Further, the company already has published APIs and is integrated in many third-party apps.

Google noted they have no set plans for what they will do with SayNow just yet, but SayNow's press release noted they would elaborate about their product's "roadmap as [they] integrate with Google." So integration with Google Voice seems likely.

Is this the continuation of a trend? Google is a year into testing the waters with Buzz. They also have that hidden gem, friend connect. A product, that when installed on a website, looks incredibly like a Facebook friend widget.

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Couple these with Google Hotpot, which is gathering more attention after the release of its iPhone app and integration into Google Maps earlier this month.

There certainly seems to be a pattern here. Google swears Facebook is not a competitor, yet Google is certainly looking more and more socially driven every day. Consider Google's five acquisitions last year and their investment in social gaming giant Zunga.

There's something on the horizon for Google and it involves networking the social aspects its properties together.


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