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Google buys Slide for social-gaming push?

TechCrunch reports that Slide, founded by former PayPal exec Max Levchin, has sold for $182 million--impressive, but less than half its reported $500 million valuation from a few years back.

TechCrunch's Sarah Lacy reported Wednesday that Slide, which went from photo-sharing service to sheep-throwing Facebook app manufacturer to ad network to second-tier player in the social-gaming craze, has been sold to Google for $182 million and that the deal will be announced Friday.

If true, that's a lot less than the $500 million valuation that was getting touted a few years ago when Slide was one of the Web 2.0 heyday's darlings. That valuation came about when Slide raised a $50 million funding round in January 2008.

Lacy also wrote that this is only the first of multiple social-gaming acquisitions for Google, which also recently invested in social-gaming powerhouse Zynga--and all of it is a strategy that Google hopes will put a dent in Facebook's breakneck growth, which has been fueled in part by the social-games craze.

Slide founder Max Levchin, one of the co-founders of PayPal, was one of the subjects in Lacy's 2008 book, "Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0."