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Google Acquires Meebo to Boost Google+

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Yesterday, consumer internet company Meebo announced that it has entered an agreement to be acquired by Google. Meebo, focused on driving user engagement across the web, will be joining forces with the Google+ team to bolster Google’s social product.

Meebo is a 7-year-old company that has built out a suite of communications tools that allow people to connect across services and within online destinations. Meebo has an estimated audience of 100MM, per December comScore figures.

The trajectory of Meebo’s business has been marked by shifts and evolutions that make its product today almost unrecognizable next to what it used to be. Meebo was founded in 2005 as a chat service that enabled people to communicate across various chat platforms such as AIM, Facebook chat, Google Talk, ICQ and more. From there, the Meebo Bar was launched for websites, enabling publishers to surface content within the site environment – including advertising (see ‘AXE’ promotion in the image below).

In a blog post about the announcement, Meebo underscored that its primary objective has been to help publishers “find deeper relationships with their users and make sites more social and engaging.” This mission aligns with Google’s ambition to expand its social product, Google Plus.

In a statement, Google 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 Plus team.”

Though Meebo is a relatively young company, it has evolved and diversified in such a way that the acquisition could benefit Google in any number of ways. Will its chat product –noted for its ability to connect users across a range of chat platforms – be used to power similar functionality within Google? What will become of the Meebo Bar, currently used to help users share content within a site and help advertisers/publishers promote products in more engaging ways? Finally, Meebo has recently put some muscle behind building out its social network. What will become of that?

It is not yet clear how exactly Google will be putting Meebo’s technology and talent to work on Google+. Per the Wall Street Journal, the purchase emphasizes Google’s ambition to strengthen and evolve its social offering by “adding more developers” to the G+ team. Of course, Google also stands to benefit from Meebo’s social expertise, as well as its social publishing model that could potentially allow advertisers to profit from their posts within Google+.