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Google buys Meebo to bolster Google+

Meebo -- the Web IM service turned advertising tool -- has been acquired by Google, and will work on the company's Google+ social network.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
Meebo logo

It looks like the rumors were true: Google has picked up Web IM company Meebo.

Meebo announced the news in a blog post today (which was brought to our attention by TechCrunch):

We are happy to announce that Meebo has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Google!

For more than seven years we've been helping publishers find deeper relationships with their users and to make their sites more social and engaging. Together with Google, we're super jazzed to roll up our sleeves and get cracking on even bigger and better ways to help users and Web site owners alike.

We've had a blast building Meebo so far, and we're really excited to start the next leg of our journey.

Thank you all for coming along for the ride!
Meebo Team

Specifics of the deal -- mainly how much Google paid -- were not disclosed, and a Google spokesperson declined to comment on that aspect of the deal. In a statement, the company said the Meebo team would be working on its Google+ product:

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+ team. We look forward to closing the transaction and working with the Meebo team to create more ways for users to engage online.

A report from All Things D last month was the first to suggest Google was in talks to pick up the company, with a purchase price of around $100 million. In a follow-up post today, TechCrunch said that number is accurate, adding that Meebo had raised about $70 million across four rounds of funding ahead of the sale, and has laid off some of its staff as part of the deal.

Meebo launched as a Web-based instant messaging client in 2005, letting users log in to multiple IM networks at once, and in their browser, at a time when that kind of functionality was limited to standalone software apps. The service later launched multiuser chat rooms, APIs for developers to build tools, and mobile apps that replicated these features.

More recently, Meebo turned its focus toward ways to add extra social and advertising features to Web sites, and toward its technology's potential usefulness as a personal content aggregation tool.

Update, 1:44 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Google, and at 2:24 p.m. with additional details from separate TechCrunch report.