This Friday, Google will announce its acquisition of Slide , for $182 million.
Earlier this year, Slide was named one of the ten most innovative web companies by Fast Company. If you've ever thrown a sheep at someone on Facebook, you've used a Slide product. The company, which says it's responsible for 100 SuperPokes a second, 5 million sheep thrown a day, and 100 spells cast per minute in its SuperPocus Academy of Magic , began as a photo-oriented shopping service but has changed its business model a whopping five times , eventually morphing into a social-gaming site. The company was founded by Max Lechin , a co-founder of Paypal and Confinity, who's said he'd only consider Slide a success if it surpassed Paypal. He originally created the service, he says , so his wife could shop for shoes faster and thus spend more time with him. Levchin is also on the boards of Evernote and Yelp.
In 2008, the company was valued at $500 million , making its current selling price seem like a steal. The company is the largest video distributor on Facebook, via its branded Funspace , but its current focus is virtual goods, which made up three quarters of its revenue in 2009. Among its plans are developing ways for users to create and sell their own virtual goods, but it's unknown whether Google will encourage the company to continue moving in that direction.
The purchase is not the first move in Google's plan to develop what it's calling Google Games. Games produced by companies like Slide have contributed to Facebook's popularity, and Google would like to capture those addicts for themselves. The company reportedly invested over a $100 million in Zynga , the current leader in social gaming, in July. Zynga has done phenomenonally in its three years of existence, and projects at least a billion in revenue in 2011. Google's made other recent investments in Playdom and Playfish. Google Games is believed to be part of Google's plans to develop a social networking service . It remains to be seen how much sheep throwing will occur there.