Google Confirms Slide Acquisition, Gears Up For War With Facebook

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Google is finally officially confirming that it bought Slide, a deal we first reported two days ago. Google did not disclose a price, but according to a source close to the deal it was $182 million. (With earnouts, it might turn out to be a bit more, but you can never count on earnouts). Slide raised a total of $78 million and at one point had a $500 million valuation.

We also conveniently broke down what everybody made from the deal. Founder Max Levchin got $39 million (after investing $7 million of his own money), BlueRun Ventures pocketed $28 million, early investor Scott Bannister made $5 million, while later investors basically got their money back. (Thank you, Sarah Lacy).

Slide could never really figure out what it wanted to be. It constantly shifted its strategy, from a desktop photo app to widgets to Facebook apps to social games. Slide started strong out of the gates, quickly becoming one of the largest Facebook app developers with apps like Top Friends and SuperPoke. As it became obvious that it would be difficult to make money from standalone Facebook other than games, Slide tried to hunker down and regroup.

But it does have a deep, battle-scarred team that knows social. And Google is desperate to get social right. In the blog post announcing the deal, engineering director David Glazer spins:

For Google, the web is about people, and we’re working to develop open, transparent and interesting (and fun!) ways to allow our users to take full advantage of how technology can bring them closer to friends and family and provide useful information just for them.

The truth is that Google is more about data than people. It could use some engineers who understand social interactions better, and Slide has a lot of them. Their mission will be to “make Google services socially aware,” and likely will be part of Google’s not-so-secret social network in the making, dubbed Google Me.

Google is gearing up for war with Facebook. But when it comes to social, they are the ones who might get slaughtered.

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