Google acquires entertainment company LabPixies

The Net giant is fostering Web-based gadget development through its acquisition of the casual gaming developer.

Google loves to build platforms on which programs run--Android, App Engine, iGoogle, and in the biggest picture, the Web itself. But platforms are of no use, and aren't much fun, without applications on top, so Google often also kick-starts development with applications of its own.

Now it appears Google is interested in boosting development in a variety of casual gaming and entertainment areas with the acquisition of LabPixies, announced late Monday. The company offers a collection of games and lightweight utilities that run on iGoogle, Google's customizable home page, and on the iPhone and Android phones.

Terms of the deal weren't announced.

iGoogle uses the OpenSocial foundation for applications. That's also used by Yahoo, Hi5, MySpace, and Orkut, meaning that OpenSocial gadgets will run on all those social-networking services. LabPixies also develops applications that run on Facebook's platform. Google launched iGoogle in 2005 and has been gradually improving it since then.

"One of the first developers to create gadgets for iGoogle was Labpixies. Over the years, we worked closely together on a variety of projects, including the launch of a number of global OpenSocial based gadgets," said iGoogle team member Don Loeb in the blog post. "Recently, we decided that we could do more if we were part of the same team, and as such, we're thrilled to announce the acquisition of LabPixies."

I first encountered LabPixies via its simple yet challenging Flood-It game for the iPhone, which I subsequently played both on iGoogle and more recently on Android. The company offers other colorful brain-teaser games including Line-Up 2, Trio, and Round-em Up.

LabPixies, like many game developers, has also gone the paid-premium route, with applications including Flood-It Pro and Trio Pro available for a price.

In a note on its own site, LabPixies indicated that it will continue doing what it's doing now.

"Working at Google will help us scale to more users as well as giving our team greater opportunities," the company said. "The acquisition is an opportunity to learn from each other to bring more apps to users, help developers and improve the overall developer ecosystem."

A selection of LabPixies gadgets and apps.
A selection of LabPixies gadgets and apps. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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