Google Makes An Acquisition: Dodgeball.com

Reuters is reporting that Google has acquired dodgeball.com. Will Sergey, Larry, and Eric soon be out there promoting dodgeball games around the world? Nope, not even close. Google is now in the mobile social-software business. Here's an FAQ about the acquisition.

dodgeball.com is currently available in 22 U.S. cities (the company has been around for about 5 years) allows you to find other dodgeball.com users via text messaging. In other words, use dodgeball.com to meet-up with friends, make new friends, etc.

Still confused? Here's how dodgeball.com was described in a recent issue of New York magazine. The story ran in the "mating" column.

Now that people are breaking up with each other through text messaging, it?s only natural that the hottest social-networking program to emerge in recent months is Dodgeball, a free texting service that lets users tell their friends and crushes what bar they?re in at any moment so they can meet up.

This Wired story has more about dodgeball and a similar mobile social-networking service in the UK. It also has a useful overview of how the service works.

It works, explained founder Dennis Crowley, by having users check in with text messages announcing where they are. Then, because dodgeball maintains a database of hundreds of nightspots in each city, anyone on a user's friends list who is within 10 blocks gets a message that his or her pal is nearby.

The service also has a "crush" feature. Users view profiles of other members and designate ones they'd like to meet. If the object of a crush is nearby, he or she gets a message to that effect. The system maintains privacy by identifying users only by screen names.

Interesting acquisition? For sure. You know me and my interest in mobile. (-: Perhaps Google might be thinking of selling advertising in the text messages that get sent to dodgeball.com members looking to meet up. How about Google working with advertisers to offer special deals for members. For example, if you and your friends want to head to a movie after meeting via dodgeball.com, show a recent text message at a nearby movie theater and get in for a reduced rate.

What I'm unclear about is what dodgeball.com has to do with Google's mission to, "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Is it time for Google to modify their mission statement?

Whatever the case may be, let the speculation begin!