Google cosies up to mobile social networking

1 Oct 2007

After a week of rumours circulating around Microsoft’s interest in Facebook, Google has just snapped up a small social networking site for mobile phones: Zingku.

At a time when technology companies are realising the power of online communities for its advertising potential, Google has acquired its second mobile site in two years, the first one being Dodgeball, a small service developed by students in NYU and based in the New York area only.

The latest acquisition, Zingku, has been in existence since 2005 and has specifically developed marketing services for advertisers including mobile flyers which are interactive and can be ‘zinged’ around from friend to friend.

Interestingly Google has its own social networking site in the form of Orkut which has been around since 2004, but it has failed to catch on in the way that others like MySpace, Bebo and Facebook have.

Having turned its attention to mobile communities it remains to be seen how Google will develop this as Zingku is relatively small, and development on Dodgeball did not seem to happen leading to its two founders resigning last April.

No financial details of the Zingku acquisition have been released but the site has already stopped new members from signing up in conjunction with Google’s arrival on the scene.

Zingku describe their merchant services as targeting “18 to 28 year olds, who have tuned out of email and are tuned in into their mobile” and “respond far more actively than traditional marketing media.”

This advertising arm will add to Google’s dominance with AdSense and AdWords.

By Marie Boran